Improving Water Quality Since 1928

Leveraging Knowledge
Driving Innovation
Enriching Expertise
Increasing Awareness 

Founded in 1928, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of 36,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. WEF members, Member Associations, and staff proudly work to achieve our mission to provide bold leadership, champion innovation, connect water professionals, and leverage knowledge to support clean and safe water worldwide. View the WEF Staff directory

WEF History 

Previously called the Federation of Sewage Works Associations (1928), the Federation of Sewage and Industrial Wastes Associations (1950), and the Water Pollution Control Federation (1960); the name was changed to the Water Environment Federation in 1991 to reflect an expanded focus of non-point and point sources of pollution. 

Leveraging Knowledge

WEF Membership 

WEF and its global network of members and Member Associations (MAs) provide water quality professionals around the world with the latest in water quality education, training, and business opportunities. WEF’s diverse membership includes scientists, engineers, regulators, academics, utility managers, plant operators, and other professionals. WEF uses this collective knowledge to further a shared goal of improving water quality around the world.

Together, WEF and its members work toward fulfilling three critical objectives:

  • Drive innovation in the water sector
  • Enrich the expertise of global water professionals
  • Increase awareness of the value of water

Committees and Communities of Practice 

More than 2,500 members participate in WEF committee activities including writing technical manuals and books, developing training materials, and helping to develop conference programs and content. The Communities of Practice work quickly to address emerging and cross cutting water issues.

Government Affairs 

Legislation and regulations from the federal government, EPA, and other federal agencies often impact WEF members’ activities and how environmental goals are met. To assist members and the overall water quality community, WEF regularly tracks, monitors, and actively comments on legislative, regulatory, and compliance issues.

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Driving Innovation

The Water Leadership Institute program encourages innovation, entrepreneurship, and professional commitment from future leaders of the water sector.
Innovative Solutions for a Sustainable Future 
WEF acknowledges the effects of climate change and other emerging concerns on water and is taking the lead to help mitigate and reduce these impacts by pursuing innovative solutions for a sustainable future. WEF aims to inspire and champion innovation in the water sector and to seek holistic approaches to water management that includes a focus on recovering and reusing resources rather than simply managing waste.
WEF believes that wastewater treatment plants are resource recovery facilities that produce clean water, recover nutrients, and have the potential to reduce the nation's dependence upon fossil fuel through the production and use of renewable energy. WEF is committed to inspiring wastewater treatment plants to become energy neutral or net energy producers and supports a range of sustainable practices that allow communities to benefit from the value of their renewable resources.
WEF and the National Biosolids Partnership (NBP) provide training and support to assist biosolids management organizations in ensuring that their programs are environmentally sound and protective of public health. The NBP serves as a model for continuous improvement in the areas of environmental performance, regulatory compliance, quality management practices, and relations with interested parties and other stakeholders.
WEF is leading innovation in all areas of water resource management, including addressing non-point source discharges from agricultural and urban stormwater runoff. WEF supports holistic methods of stormwater management, which includes the integration of watershed approaches such as green infrastructure, permitting alternatives, and stormwater monitoring efforts.

Enriching Expertise

Technical Training and Education
As a leading source of water quality expertise, WEF is committed to advancing the water profession by providing unparalleled access to the world’s best science, engineering, and technical practices in the water environment field. WEF continuously evaluates its programs and services to maintain alignment with its overall goal of ensuring clean water for the protection of public health and a sustainable water environment.

WEFTEC® - The Water Quality Event
WEF’s Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference is the world’s largest annual water quality conference and exhibition. Featuring the highest quality training, networking and business opportunities in the water sector today, WEFTEC hosts thousands of water quality experts and water companies from around the world each year.

Specialty Conferences, Seminars, Webcasts , and Distance Learning 
Using an array of delivery mechanisms WEF’s educational events focus on a wide range of timely water quality topics, such as driving innovation in the water sector, energy & resource recovery, stormwater, biosolids, utility management, collection systems, membranes, nutrient-related activities, and operator initiatives.

Technical Publications
To ensure that its resources represent the state of industry practice in all areas of water quality, WEF publishes more than 190 technical publications including peer-reviewed Manuals of Practice (MOPs).

Award-Winning Magazines and Journals 

Electronic Newsletters 

The Operator Strategy
The Operator Strategy is an integrative program of knowledge and services for wastewater systems operations personnel.

Effective Utility Management
This collaborative effort between WEF, EPA, and five water organizations provides resources to promote best practices across the sector based on a set of ten attributes and five keys to management success to achieve effective water utility management.

Students & Young Professionals
WEF works to support university students and young water professionals through a number of programs including an annual community service project, student design competition, poster symposium, and a networking and career fair.

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Increasing Awareness

Sharing Knowledge, Exploring Solutions 
WEF recognizes that the effects of climate change are a priority concern for its members and acknowledges its responsibility to lead efforts to mitigate and reduce the impacts of this issue and the importance of pursuing innovative solutions for a sustainable future. In support of this commitment, WEF has adopted resolutions on climate change and renewable energy, appointed a Sustainability Community of Practice, initiated the award-winning WEF Eco program, and organizes education and training events on related topics.  View photos of WEF staff participating in a WEF Eco event on Earth Day. 

WATER’S WORTH IT® is a public messaging campaign from WEF that helps to answer the questions about how our actions, attitudes, and the things we most value are so closely connected with water. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about the value and importance of water, water-related issues, and the water profession.

Water for Jobs: Water Puts America to Work  

Water for Jobs: Water Puts America to Work is a messaging campaign that makes the business case for water infrastructure investment by emphasizing the irrefutable link between funding and job creation.

Work for Water 

Work for Water is a joint project of WEF and the American Water Works Association, in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to provide resources and encourage careers in the water sector.

The Stockholm Junior Water Prize is the most prestigious international youth award for a high school water science research project. In the United States, WEF and its MAs organize the national, state, and local competitions.      

World Water Monitoring Challenge™  

World Water Monitoring Challenge™ is an international outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world. An official World Water Monitoring Day™ continues to be observed each year on September 18.

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WEF Headquarters

With a staff of nearly 100, WEF is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside of Washington D.C.

To contact WEF, call toll-free at 1.800.666.0206 or 1.703.684.2400; email; or write to:

Water Environment Federation
601 Wythe Street
Alexandria, VA
22314-1994 USA

WEF on the Web

WEF has a number of Web sites designed to provide its members and the public with the latest water quality news and information; program and educational resources; annual and spacial events; and networking opportunities: