Common Water Quality Questions
General WEF Questions
Common Water Quality Questions
Q: Can you provide me with a list of wastewater treatment plants in the U.S.?
A: WEF maintains a list of wastewater treatment plants on our website for you to view; however, this list may not be the most updated list available. For further information, you may submit a request for this information to the U.S. EPA Office of Water Resource Center. The center is a contractor operated facility that provides library and information services to the public and EPA staff regarding Office of Water programs.
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Q: What is "point source" pollution?
A: Point source pollution originates from a specific locale, such as a factory discharge pipe. Point source pollution is typically easy to locate and control.
Q: What is "nonpoint" source pollution?
A: Nonpoint source pollution comes from various land use practices, air pollutants, and sewer overflows -- plus daily human activity. It is harder to control nonpoint sources of pollution. An example includes excess farm and lawn nutrients moving throughout the soil and into the groundwater, or the pollutants enter local waters directly through runoff during heavy rains, causing dangerous algal blooms. View related fact sheet.
Q: What are biosolids and biosolids reuse?
A: Biosolids are a safe and beneficial resource composed of essential plant nutrient and organic matter that is recovered from the treatment of domestic sewage in a wastewater treatment facility. Biosolids can be reused and applied as fertilizer to improve and maintain productive soils and to stimulate plant growth. Farmers and gardeners have been reusing biosolids for ages. Biosolids are also used to fertilize gardens and parks and to reclaim mining sites. They are carefully monitored and must be used in accordance with regulatory requirements. Click here for more information on biosolids reuse.
General WEF Questions
Q: When was WEF founded?
A: The Federation was founded in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. in 1928, through a grant from the Chemical Foundation, as the Federation of Sewage Works Associations. The organization's original purpose was to publish the Sewage Works Journal for those in wastewater treatment. Today, WEF materials and services have expanded to meet a wide spectrum of water quality needs.
Q: What are Member Associations (MAs) and Corresponding Associations (CAs)?
A: Member Associations (MAs) and Corresponding Associations (CAs) are local organizations for water quality professionals. They provide exciting and informative activities and services to WEF members around the world. MAs are independently governed from WEF, however, each MA is represented on WEF's Board of Directors. WEF believes it to be vital that WEF members also join their local MA, and it is a requirement of membership. WEF works with MAs and CAs to produce many programs, including high quality technical conferences, operator training and certification programs, local and regional legislative and regulatory activities, educational programs, affiliations with other professional organizations, and much more. For more information and links to MA websites, visit the MA area of WEF's website.
Q: What volunteer opportunities are available to me as a WEF member?
A: You may join more than 2,500 volunteers, working through WEF's committees, to create the products and services that members and customers need to be the best in their profession. These volunteers ensure that WEF's position on regulatory and legislative activities is carried forward, and that WEF members are recognized for their service and commitment to WEF and the water quality profession.
Q: How do I join a WEF committee?
A: Your work with a Federation committee can be one of the most important contributions you will make to the water environment profession and to your career. To become a committee member, select the committee(s) which best fits your interest and experience and call the Customer Service Center at 1-800-666-0206 or +1-703-684-2452 (globally) or print out an application (link here).
Q: May I receive a sample issue of a WEF periodical?
A: Interested individuals can obtain a samples by calling the Customer Service Center at 1-800-666-0206 or +1-703-684-2452 (globally).
Q: I would like to make copies of an article I read in a WEF journal. Do I need permission from the Federation to make copies of published materials?
A: Requests to reproduce or distribute copies of WEF published material must be sent in writing to the WEF Journals and Books department via fax at 1-703-684-2492 or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please see the following PDFdocument for guidelines of what information must be included in the request.
After review and consideration of the request, a WEF Journals and Books department staff member will respond in writing granting or denying permission to the WEF copyrighted material.
Q: Why is WEF considered a "technical" organization?
A: WEF is a technical organization based on the level of expertise it requires for each project, publication, conference, and meeting it sponsors. WEF relies on the knowledge and credentials of its volunteer and paid staff to ensure the highest quality products. Examples of WEF's technical, peer-developed products include: WEFTEC (WEF's Technical Exhibition and Conference)--North America's largest conference and exposition on water quality and wastewater treatment technology and issues; Operator Training programs, workshops, and seminars approved for continuing education and/or experience credit by many operator certification agencies; Specialty Conferences featuring key water quality topics; and more than 190 technical publications - like the peer-reviewed Manuals of Practice (MOPs) covering water quality topics ranging from prevention and control of sewer overflows to water reuse.
Q: Who is the Water Environment Research Foundation?
A: The Water Environment Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed in 1989, is America’s leading independent scientific research organization dedicated to wastewater and stormwater issues. WERF has managed nearly 400 research projects, valued at more than $85 million. WERF operates with funding from subscribers, including wastewater treatment plants, stormwater utilities, regulatory agencies, industry, equipment companies, engineers, and environmental consultants, and the federal government. All research is peer reviewed by leading experts. For more information, contact WERF at 1-703-684-2470 or visit the WERF Web site.
Q: Has the Water Environment Federation had other names?
A:The Federation has had four organizational names since its founding in 1928: Federation of Sewage Works Associations until 1950, Federation of Sewage and Industrial Wastes Associations from 1950-1960, the Water Pollution Control Federation until October 1991 and thereafter, the Water Environment Federation.
Q: What is the main organization representing drinking water?
A: Founded in 1881, the American Water Works Association represents more than 57,000 members who provide about 85% of the North American population with safe drinking water. Visit www.awwa.org to learn more.