Frequently Asked Questions about the Water Environment Federation

Q: What is the Water Environment Federation (WEF)?

A: 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. To learn more, visit www.wef.org.


Q: Where and when was WEF formed?

A: The Federation was formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1928 through a grant from the Chemical Foundation. First known as the Federation of Sewage Works Association, the organization's original purpose was to publish the Sewage Works Journal for wastewater treatment workers. Today, WEF materials and services have expanded to meet a wide spectrum of water quality needs.


Q: Has the Water Environment Federation had other names?

A: The Federation has had four 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 the current Water Environment Federation.


Q: Who are WEF Members?

A:  WEF members are practitioners (plant operators, technicians, utility managers), scientists, and academicians who have chosen to devote themselves to protecting public health and ensuring sustainable water resources by addressing water quality challenges on a daily basis.


Q: How many members does WEF have?

A: WEF has 36,000 individual members and 81 affiliated Member Associations.


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.


Q:  Why is WEF considered to be 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, 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 - including the peer-reviewed Manuals of Practice (MOPs) - covering water quality topics ranging from prevention and control of sewer overflows to water reuse.


Q: What is WEFTEC®?

A: WEFTEC - WEF’s Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference - is regarded as one of the most powerful water quality events available today. It features the most up-to-date technical information on water quality issues and is the largest annual water quality  conference and exhibition in the world. This week-long event, held in key cities throughout the U.S., attracts thousands of professionals each year. For more information, visit www.weftec.org.



Q:  What is the National Biosolids Partnership?

A: The National Biosolids Partnership assists in the planning and implementation of environmentally sound management programs to promote public acceptance of biosolids in the United States. The Partnership is composed of WEF, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For more information, visit www.biosolids.org.


Q: What is Water Is Life, and Infrastructure Makes It Happen™?

A:  Water Is Life, and Infrastructure Makes It Happen™ is a grassroots program designed to educate the general public, local leaders, and media about the value of water and wastewater infrastructure and the importance of investing in its long-term stability. Centered on the issue of crumbling or overburdened U.S. water and wastewater systems, the program highlights the need for user rate increases due to declining federal and state funding for water-related projects. Developed by WEF, in cooperation with several national partners, the program will use drinking water and wastewater utilities to distribute materials and create activities both locally and statewide. For more information, visit www.waterislife.net.


Q: What is the Stockholm Junior Water Prize?

A: The Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) 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 U.S. national, state, and local competitions with support from ITT Industries and The Coca-Cola Company. Click here for more information.


Q: What is the Water Environment Research Foundation?

A: The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) is a not-for-profit organization established in 1989 to advance science and technology for the benefit of subscribing utilities, corporations, equipment manufacturers, industrial organizations, and the general public. For more information, visit www.werf.org.