Thousands of water and wastewater professionals attend WEFTEC to learn, network, find out about new products and services, and earn continuing education credit and professional development hours (PDH). Cutting-edge technical sessions and workshops address topics including collection systems; membrane technologies; plant operations, treatment, and management; regulations and research; residuals and biosolids; water recycling, and more. To view the technical program, click here. For a summary of the many reasons why attending WEFTEC is extremely valuable, click here.

View the WEFTEC 2012 Digital Conference Announcement or click on the program icon above. For more information on WEFTEC 2012, click here. Advance Registration will be accepted via mail, fax and phone through August 31, 2012. After August 31, individuals may register online only. Online registration will be available through the end of the conference.  To register, click here.

WEF continues to highlight innovation in the water sector with its Innovation Showcase at WEFTEC 2012, WEF’s 85th Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference, this fall in New Orleans, LA.  The Innovation Pavilion, one component of the broader Showcase, will house a host of companies offering cutting-edge products and services. Featured exhibitors include finalists and winners of the Imagine H2O Water Innovation Prize and the 2012 BlueTech Forum Showcase. In addition to exhibits, the Pavilion includes a theater where presentations will occur throughout the week.  Here visitors can learn from the recent WEF Innovative Technology Award winners and others—including operators—who recognize that innovation is not necessarily a new product, but a way of thinking. Innovation Showcase activities will take place in Hall C of the New Orleans Morial Convention Center October 1-3, 2012.

A series of programming dedicated to innovative ways of solving problems in the water sector will run in conjunction with the Pavilion throughout the week.  Topics covered include turning research into saleable products, securing financial support for good ideas and developing strategic partnerships.  Visit www.weftec.org/innovation for the latest details.

Effective planning is essential for utilities to sustainably manage their operations and ensure that water infrastructure investments are cost effective over their life cycle, resource-efficient, and support other relevant community sustainability goals. On September 13, from 1:00 to 2:30 pm EDT, EPA will host a webinar on how water and wastewater utilities can engage with various stakeholders in the community to establish sustainability goals that reflect utility and community priorities. The webinar will feature presentations by two local leaders about projects in their communities.  The webcast is free. For more information, contact Jim Horne at (202) 564-0571. Click here to register.

WEF filed an amicus brief on August 9 with the California 5th District Court of Appeal in Fresno to support several municipal agencies in Southern California in their legal challenge to a ban (known as Measure E) on land application of biosolidsCity of Los Angeles, et al. v County of Kern. The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) also filed a brief with the same California appeals court on August 9. WEF offered their brief to provide the Court with a review of current science demonstrating the benefits and safety of recycling biosolids to land. The brief encourages the court to affirm an earlier injunction against land application restrictions initiated by Kern County. WEF previously participated in litigation over the Kern County ban in federal court back in 2008, although that case was ultimately dismissed on an unrelated legal technicality. The municipal plaintiffs then re-filed in state court and quickly obtained a preliminary injunction against the Kern County ban. The County is now challenging that injunction before a state appellate court.  On August14 the 5th District Court of Appeal in Fresno accepted the NACWA and WEF briefs and issued an order requiring Kern’s response to be filed by Friday, August 24, 2012.

Christoph Dobson,  CWEA’s President-Elect, spoke at the State Water Board’s August 7 hearing regarding proposed changes to the State’s Operator Certification Program. You can read his full testimony below.

Good morning Chair and Board members.  My name is Christoph Dobson and I am the President-Elect of the California Water Environment Association.

CWEA is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to training, educating, and certifying water environment professionals.  We currently serve over 9,000 members and more than 5,000 certificate-holders in related fields.

CWEA already submitted our formal comment letter on the proposed regulation amendments, but I appreciate the opportunity to also speak briefly on this topic.  It is one we are very passionate about because CWEA actually started the Operator Certification program way back in 1937. This year is our 75th anniversary.

Fast forward to today and CWEA continues to support the program by providing administrative assistance to the Office of Operator Certification, raising awareness about operator certification issues, and training and educating operators.

CWEA urges the Board to support continuous improvement in this program to ensure its ongoing relevance.  In our view, that includes updating the examination and testing process and requiring Continuing Education to ensure operators remain knowledgeable about regulatory requirements, new technologies, and current practices.  I also want to emphasize that Continuing Education can come from a variety of sources, including a plant’s own in-house training program.

And finally, I would like to add that CWEA is committed to continue working collaboratively with the State Water Board and Office of Operator Certification to ensure our state’s operators continue their stellar performance in protecting public health and the environment.  They really do a great job, but we owe it to California’s ratepayers to make sure our operators are as effective as they can possibly be.