WEF's membership newsletter covers current Federation activities, Member Association news, and items of concern to the water quality field. WEF Highlights is your source for the most up-to-the-minute WEF news and member information.  

February 2011, Vol. 48, No. 1

Top Story

Meet WEF’s New Executive Director, Jeff Eger

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Water Environment Federation (Alexandria, Va.) welcomes Jeff Eger as executive director. Click for larger image.
The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) welcomes its new executive director, Jeff Eger. He comes to WEF from Sanitation District 1 (SD1) in Fort Wright, Ky., where he has served as executive director since 1994. Eger assumed his post at WEF in late January.

“We are fortunate that someone with Jeff’s leadership, experience, and creativity is taking up the torch to represent WEF as it faces the next generation of environmental challenges,” said WEF President Jeanette Brown. “The WEF Board was particularly impressed by his credentials in working with water regulations and stormwater issues.”   

While at SD1, the second largest public sewer utility in Kentucky, Eger developed and implemented a regional stormwater management program to comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations and began taking responsibility for public stormwater collection systems in 2009. He also supervised the regionalization of 30 municipal sanitary sewer systems in response to pending federal environmental regulations and legislative changes.
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Water Dorm 2012

Project tests treatment technology and explores barriers to accepting direct potable reuse

Imagine a net-zero residence where wastewater becomes potable water through inexpensive, low-energy means. Through such a water reuse system, futuristic homes could provide water without tapping into public or groundwater supplies.

Potable water “demand would go to somewhere near zero,” said James Englehardt, University of Miami (UM) College of Engineering professor and chief investigator of the project, titled Design for Autonomous Net-Zero Water Buildings.

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University of Miami's Eaton Hall will be retrofitted to become an autonomous net-zero water residence. Photo courtesy of James Englehardt. Click for larger image.
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USDA Design Could Pave Road to CAFO Compliance for Milk Houses

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Effective disposal systems cost about $25,000 to $35,000

Dairy farms produce wastewater that includes washwater from cleaning milking equipment and the milk house. Small farms send this washwater to a septic system, but milk, protein, water, and cleaners contained in the dairy discharge do not percolate effectively. In 2008, use of the ineffective systems became a violation of federal groundwater protection under the revised concentrated animal-feeding operations (CAFO) regulations.

This problem of finding affordable, effective treatment for dairy wastewater is a “historical situation,” according to Darryl Forgione, northeast regional engineer at the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

In Massachusetts, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) engineers and scientists with funding and support from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) and other state agencies developed and are testing cost-efficient, vegetative treatment designs that may address biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and the pollutants of concern — chlorine byproduct, phosphorus, and nitrogen — generated by small-dairy operators. 

A study tests the ability of the vegetated treatment area at Great Brook Farm to address biochemical oxygen demand and pollutants of concern generated by dairy farms. Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service. Click for larger image.
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From the President: Recognizing Operators as Guardians of Public Health

Not only water professionals believe the advent of basic wastewater collection and treatment in the 20th century resulted in direct benefits to public health in the United States and other developed countries. In 2007, thousands of readers of the prestigious British Medical Journal picked sanitation, or wastewater collection and treatment, as “the most important medical advance since 1840.”

That’s right; sanitation was chosen by medical professionals as the most important medical advancement during the past 160 years instead of anesthetics, antibiotics, and countless other Nobel Prize-winning advances. 

Taking this vital public health service for granted is easy, especially when all you have to do is turn on the tap to get clean, safe water or flush a toilet to safely dispose of your wastes. Yet 2.5 billion people — nearly 40% of the world’s population — still lack access to clean, safe water and basic sanitation, resulting in thousands of children’s deaths every day. And the recent outbreak of cholera in Haiti that caused more than 1000 deaths provides another reminder of the dangers of poor sanitation.
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Jeanette Brown, 2010–2011 WEF President.
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Operations Resource Center Offers Resources and Networking Tools to Wastewater Treatment Personnel

Discover valuable technical resources for wastewater treatment personnel provided by the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) in this month’s online resource, the Operations Resource Center.

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