Improving Water Quality Since 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. Since 1928, WEF and its members have protected public health and the environment. As a global water sector leader, our mission is to connect water professionals; enrich the expertise of water professionals; increase the awareness of the impact and value of water; and provide a platform for water sector innovation.  

With a staff of nearly 100, WEF is headquartered in Alexandria, Va., just outside of Washington, DC. 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 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
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 task forces work quickly to address emerging and cross cutting water issues. 

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. WEF co-organizes the annual Water Week event in Washington, DC, that connects hundreds of water professionals with members of Congress and federal regulators. 

Driving Innovation

The Water Leadership Institute program encourages innovation, entrepreneurship, and professional commitment from future water leaders.
Innovative Solutions for a Sustainable Future 
WEF is providing a platform for water sector innovation and is promotion holistic approaches to water management that focuses on recovering and reusing resources rather than simply managing waste. An important part of this effort is the WEF/WERF Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology (LIFT) that is designed to help accelerate technical advances and policy solutions.
The Water Resources Utility of the Future 
WEF, in partnership with NACWA and WERF, developed the blueprint for the utility of the future that defines evolving environmental, economic, and social roles that clean water utilities are playing in their communities. The blueprint includes objectives and goals that support a new clean water paradigm.
Wastewater treatment plants are resource recovery facilities that produce clean water, recover nutrients, and have the potential to reduce dependence upon fossil fuel through the production and use of renewable energy. WEF is helping treatment facilities become net energy producers and supports a range of sustainable practices that allow communities to benefit from the value of their renewable resources, including environmentally sound residuals management and biosolids recycling.
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 collects and provides sector data; and 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 urban storm water and agricultural runoff. WEF supports holistic methods of stormwater management, including innovative financing, and the integration of watershed approaches such as green infrastructure, permitting alternatives, and stormwater monitoring efforts.

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Enriching Expertise                            

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. As the home for stormwater professionals, WEFTEC also hosts the popular Stormwater Congress, a special conference-within-a-conference that focuses exclusively on this important segment of the water sector.

Specialty Conferences, Seminars, Webcasts , and Distance Learning 
Held throughout the year, WEF’s educational events focus on a range of diverse and timely water quality topics, such as driving innovation in the water sector, energy & resource recovery, stormwater management, biosolids, utility management, collection systems, membranes, nutrient removal and recovery, 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 

Operator Services 
As we move toward the utility of the future, operations personnel must be ready to control and monitor more sophisticated processes, equipment and management options. To ensure well-trained professionals are available for these vital positions, WEF provides multi-tiered programs of education, training and advocacy to support and help develop operators of the future.

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, young professionals summit, student design competition, student chapter meeting, 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. 

The Value of Water Coalition 
In support of an important strategic area for WEF, the Value of Water Coalition is an unprecedented collaboration of U.S. water companies and associations that have come together to create a stronger, more unified voice across the sector and to improve public awareness about the value of water.
Work for Water 
Work for Water is a joint project of WEF and AWWA, in collaboration with the U.S. EPA, to provide resources and encourage careers in the water sector.
The Stockholm Junior Water Prize 
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 with support from Xylem, Inc.

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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: