On June 23-24 in Alexandria, VA, representatives from various Member Associations (from New England to Hawaii), EPA, and other key organizations attended the Operator Certification and Training Summit hosted by WEF. The purpose of the one-and-a-half-day meeting was to discuss and develop an action plan regarding important challenges faced by wastewater treatment plant operators. Participants agreed on a mission to establish operators as a recognized and respected profession, and to ensure certification programs enable a desired level of that professional recognition. The action plan includes strategies to address sustaining wastewater operator certification programs, to develop a national entry level operator program which can set a career path for operators, and to develop a voluntary license and designation for the highest level operator (operator-in-charge, supervisor). A post-summit webcast is scheduled for June 30th which will summarize the discussions and outcomes from the meeting.

WEF announced on June 27 that Alison Bick of Short Hill, N.J. was named the U.S. winner of the 2011 Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP)—the most prestigious international competition for water-related research—during a ceremony this past weekend at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, IL. Bick’s project, “Development and Evaluation of a Microfluidic Co-Flow Device to Determine Water-Quality,” was selected from more than 40 state SJWP winners at the national competition held in Chicago from June 23-25.  Concerned by the threat of contaminated drinking water from events such as natural or man-made disasters, Bick sought a low-cost, portable and publicly accessible method for testing water potability. Her research concluded that a combination of microfluidics, cell-phones, and Colilert-18—a chemical that becomes yellow in the presence of coliform bacteria and a water sample in a single channel—is a novel way of determining several water qualities.

WEF sponsors the U.S. SJWP with support from ITT Corporation (also the international sponsor), The Coca-Cola Company, and Delta Air Lines. The Illinois Water Environment Association hosted the 2011 national competition and Bick received sponsorship from the New Jersey Water Environment Association.

The Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority (VVWRA) has been recognized nationally for Excellence in Financial Reporting, the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) announced.

The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and was awarded by GFOA to VVWRA for its 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

“With so many public agencies facing tough financial times, I can’t express how proud I am of our finance team, and the diligence and dedication they’ve shown toward presenting our financial statements,” said Logan Olds, General Manager of VVWRA. The agency last year was recognized on a state level for its CAFR by the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers (CSMFO).
According to a statement from GFOA, which serves approximately 17,500 government financial professionals throughout the U.S. and Canada, the CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story.

More information about the Association’s “Certificate Program” can be found in the “Awards Program” area of the website, www.gfoa.org.
The Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority is a public agency that is equally governed by officials from its member agencies, which include Apple Valley, Hesperia, Victorville, Oro Grande and Spring Valley Lake. The agency’s award-winning regional treatment plant is located in Victorville.

Water For People today began the distribution of a Request for Information (RFI) to gather information about new ownership options for its instantaneous on the ground remote technology, Field Level Operations Watch (FLOW). Water for People is a non-profit international development organization dedicated to helping people gain access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation. [Read more]

Above the Fray
Scottie Dayton
Municipal Sewer & Water

The Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency in Big Bear City, Calif., had capacity issues where its sanitary sewers turned 90 degrees. The staff monitored flows at seven problem areas using meters from a company that later went out of business.

At that point plant superintendent Joe Hanford lost the ability to access real-time data through a Web server. Without a warning system, high-flow events led to occasional sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs).

The agency lived with the situation for two years as it investigated companies and solutions. “There didn’t seem to be a lot of options at the time,” says Hanford. “Then a Hach Company representative demonstrated the Marsh-McBirney Flo-Dar flowmeters with a Data Delivery Services (DDS) program. They seemed suitable for our application, so I signed a three-year contract.”

The program uses Web-enabled radar velocity sensors with surcharge velocity sensors and cellular wireless flow loggers that transmit data to a secure website. Hach personnel installed and maintain the meters. Since enrolling in the program in November 2010, the agency saves $600 per month in labor and materials and receives reliable, accurate, real-time data, according to Hanford. [Read more]