The National Biosolids Partnership (NBP) honored three biosolids management organizations with the prestigious 10 Years Platinum award at WEFTEC® 2014 in New Orleans, La. The three organizations—Orange County Sanitation District, Calif.; City of Los Angeles, Calif.; and DC Water of Washington, DC—represent leaders in the industry for continuous improvement and best management practices in biosolids management.

“These awards are an incredible achievement representing a great deal of hard work and commitment,” said Sr. Program Manager, Lisa McFadden of the Water Environment Federation (WEF), Water, Science, and Engineering Center.

The NBP, which advances environmentally sound biosolids management practices, is operated by WEF in collaboration with the National Association of Clean Water Agencies and local and regional biosolids management organizations across the U.S. and Canada with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The NBP serves as the information clearinghouse on effective biosolids practices and offers an EMS-based certification program that requires participating organizations to go beyond regulatory requirements.

The Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority (VVWRA) held a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Friday, September 26, 2014, to mark the successful start-up of its new Omnivore™ biogas production system, supplied by Anaergia Inc. The new biogas system was funded in part by the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program. The start-up of the VVWRA Omnivore project is significant to the CEC and to Anaergia because it demonstrates how wastewater treatment plants can increase digester loading and biogas production using existing infrastructure. The innovation includes Anaergia’s high solids mixers and recuperative thickener, which change an ordinary digester into a high-solids Omnivore™ digester. The Omnivore™ retrofit enables VVWRA to triple the digester’s solids content and biogas production rate. VVWRA will convert the additional biogas into electricity to meet part of the wastewater treatment facility’s electrical demand. Though Anaergia has provided high solids digestion technologies to meet the needs of customers in Europe, the VVWRA retrofit is the first in North America.

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WEFTEC continues to solidify its reputation as the world-class water quality event by setting new records for New Orleans. A total of 20,385 registrants and 1,027 companies using 303,075 net square feet of exhibition space, participated at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center. As the host of thousands of water professionals and water companies from nearly 100 countries, WEFTEC 2014—the Water Environment Federation’s (WEF) 87th annual technical exhibition and conference—is officially the largest showing for WEF in the famed Crescent City.

“In terms of what we have to offer, WEFTEC is really hitting a sweet spot in the industry,” said 2013-2014 WEF President Sandra Ralston. “What makes our event unique is that it represents all water and reflects what we’re hearing and seeing as the most important water issues impacting our communities today.”

“The notable showing in New Orleans says that WEFTEC is an important industry event but also speaks to the value and importance of water as a big picture issue that links to all aspects of modern society,” added WEF Executive Director Eileen O’Neill. “WEF understands that and has worked hard to stretch ourselves beyond what has traditionally worked, which demonstrates our willingness to change to meet the evolving needs of our members, attendees, and the entire water sector.” [Read more]

PhRMA v. Alameda
9th Circuit Court of Appeals Rules for Alameda

On Tuesday Sept. 30th, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a challenge by three pharmaceutical associations to Alameda County’s Safe Drug Disposal Ordinance, the first in the nation to require drug manufacturers to collect and dispose of unwanted prescription drugs.

The pharmaceutical industry sued Alameda County following the 5-0 vote to adopt the ordinance in 2012, alleging that it violated the Commerce Clause by shifting local costs to out-of-state producers and interfering with interstate commerce.

The Court rejected that argument in the 3-0 ruling, with Judge N. Randy Smith writing: “The ordinance neither discriminates against nor directly regulates interstate commerce [ . . . ] because it applies to all manufacturers that make their drugs available in Alameda County – without respect to the geographic location of the manufacturer.”
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Terminal Velocity, of the Virginia Water Environment Association, took the top honors for an unprecedented fifth consecutive time yesterday at the Operations Challenge competition held in New Orleans. Now in its 27th year, the competition was a highly anticipated event of WEFTEC® 2014, the Water Environment Federation’s 87th Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference.

Terminal Velocity team members Steve Motley, Steve Poe, Jason Truitt, and Captain Donnie Cagle were coached by Elijah Smith and Bobby Williams, competed against 42 hardworking teams from the U.S., Canada and Argentina. As one of the most fun and exciting events on the exhibition floor, Operations Challenge is a unique and fast-paced test of the essential skills needed to operate and maintain wastewater treatment facilities, their collection systems and laboratories—all vital to the protection of public health and the environment.

“The level of professionalism exhibited throughout this event was outstanding,” said Stacie Metzler, Operations Challenge Committee Chair. “What the teams learn here at WEFTEC goes back with them to their own communities, which ultimately benefits society, the environment, and their own careers.”

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