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a strategy to attend WEFTEC 2014
to obtaining approval and accessing education at WEF’s annual conference and
As budgets continue to tighten, getting approval to
attend the annual Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and
Conference (WEFTEC®) can pose a challenge.
Many organizations may restrict permission to attend
only to those employees who absolutely need to attend. But Rob McElroy, general
manager of Daphne Utilities (Daphne, Ala.), asserts that the education and
training available at WEFTEC is a necessity and he offers tips to prepare a
WEFTEC attendance request via YouTube at http://goo.gl/e7D7fA.
“While training can be expensive, it is even more
expensive and dangerous for your utility workers to be untrained or
undertrained,” McElroy said. “It is absolutely vital that utility operators
keep pace with the ever-changing regulations that govern our industry.”
To make WEFTEC training more
affordable and accessible, WEF offers an Exhibition Only online registration
option. This allows attendees to see exhibitors, participate in any of 24
technical sessions and 11 mobile sessions on the floor, and network and learn
at WEF’s Innovation Pavilion and Theater (Booth No. 4029) and Stormwater
Pavilion and Theater (Hall I1), at no charge. Register at www.weftec.org/registration.
WEF also helps utilities tailor membership packages
through the Utility Partnership Program. The program enables utilities to
consolidate all employees into a single account and choose the appropriate
value packages based on employees’ needs. And as WEF members, utilities will be
eligible for all member benefits and discounts.
Educational opportunities at WEFTEC have been
organized into 23 focus areas, including collection systems, disinfection,
energy, facility operations and maintenance, global perspectives, industrial
issues, research and innovation, membrane technologies, microconstituents,
modeling, nutrients, odors, public officials, regulations, residuals and
biosolids, small communities, stormwater, sustainability, urban systems,
utility management, water reclamation, water supply and management, and
watershed management. And attendees can earn up to 1.2 Continuing Education
Units at workshops, 16.5 Professional Development Hours in technical sessions,
and 8 contact hours per day in the exhibition.
A key strategy to getting approval to take advantage
of the education and training opportunities offered is providing details about
what you plan to do, learn, and bring back from WEFTEC. Justification for
attending needs to be businesslike, well prepared, and compelling, McElroy
Look around the company or utility and list any problems
it faces, starting with anything that directly affects your job and working out
from there. For example, wastewater operators can identify an inefficient or
struggling process or piece of equipment and calculate the costs associated
with this, such as maintenance requirements and downtime for repairs, to
estimate how much money finding a solution would equal, he added. Then,
carefully examine the technical sessions, workshops, and exhibitors at WEFTEC
that would address these problems and compare the cost of attending to the cost
savings from solutions found or training offered at WEFTEC, he explained.
Describe the amount of knowledge and training that you can share with the
organization. Also, explain that access to the WEFTEC 2014 Proceedings is included
with most registration categories and includes about 8000 pages of detailed
information available online to share with coworkers.
WEF offers resources to help identify and calculate
these advantages, such as a benefits worksheet, return on investment
worksheets, and conference follow-up report. These resources help obtain
approval and report on results from attending WEFTEC. They help potential
attendees identify solutions to problems faced on the job, describe ways to
increase job performance, explain how your job will be covered while attending
the event, identify plans to use the information learned to train others at
your organization, calculate benefits, track continuing education earned,
identify and track networking contacts, explain the importance of information
gathered by attending, identify an action plan for implementing information
gathered, and identify ways to feature your organization’s processes or
innovations at a future WEFTEC.
“We at the Water Environment Federation
would like to help you get the training and make the contacts you need to be
successful,” McElroy said.
a schedule that appeals to your learning style at WEFTEC 2014
you learn by listening, reading, or participating in hands-on activities,
WEFTEC® 2014 has something for everyone. The Water Environment
Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) annual educational event features 145
technical sessions, 11 mobile sessions, 31 workshops, 8 facility tours, 3
knowledge development forums, pavilions, poster sessions, and an exhibition
featuring nearly 1000 exhibiting companies.
Facility tours offer
hands-on and visual learners a valuable experience. Participants can see active
projects and operations at anything from collection systems to water resource
recovery facilities to companies.
For those interested in
industrial wastewater, Tour 3 visits the Abita Brewing Co. (Abita Springs, La.)
to see its industrial water resource recovery facility that anaerobically
treats brewery wastewater and generates renewable biogas.
Attendees interested in
seeing many portions of a $250 million upgrade, including a new pumping station
and preliminary treatment facility and ongoing construction of contact basins and
clarifiers at the Baton Rouge (La.) South Wastewater Treatment Plant, can
participate in Tour 4.
sessions and workshops promote audience involvement
Workshops and technical sessions incorporate
various formats, including anything from standard PowerPoint presentations and
lecture formats to Q&A segments to group discussions and activities.
This year, workshops 12, 20, and 30 will
exemplify hands-on learning by taking participants offsite. Participants will
see how reclaimed wastewater is being introduced as a source of nutrients to
wetlands, observe techniques and participate in demonstrations to understand
biological nutrient removal techniques, and see demonstrations of
thermo-chemical conversion techniques and new developments in converting
agricultural residuals and biosolids into resources.
In addition, attendees will have the
opportunity to hear leaders on key water-sector topics discuss various issues
and to ask questions in Technical Session 100: Great Water Cities Session and
Technical Session 200: Clean Water Policy update.
WEF also is working to
move innovation forward by facilitating discussion in three knowledge
development forums. The forums include Workshop 2, which focuses on carbon
removal and recovery technologies for sustainable and energy-efficient water
resource recovery facilities; Session 208, which focuses on floc versus
granules; and Session 500, which focuses on nondispersibles.
expands educational opportunities
A total of 24 of the 145 technical sessions
will be held in four session rooms located in the exhibition. These sessions
will cover such hot topics as nutrient removal, stormwater, asset management,
collection systems, innovation, and biogas.
The exhibition also
features 11 mobile sessions where participants are guided to different exhibit
booths to see demonstrations of technologies and concepts. Participants can
learn about aeration in Session 108, chemical disinfection in Session 228,
blowers in Session 434, and sewer operations tools in Session 530.
Attendees facing a specific challenge at home
can seek out related exhibitors to discuss technologies and find solutions.
Many exhibitors hold educational demonstrations showcasing technologies and
innovations at their booths.
To foster discussion and
education centering on innovation and stormwater, WEF hosts the Innovation
Pavilion and Theater at Booth No. 4029 and the Stormwater Pavilion and Theater
in Hall I1 in the exhibition. WEF and its innovation partners BlueTech Research
(Vancouver, B.C., Canada) and Imagine H2O (San Francisco) showcase
water treatment technologies of the future, host presentations related to
technologies and problem-solving, and feature networking receptions in the
Innovation Pavilion and Theater.
With the Stormwater Pavilion and Theater, WEF
brings stormwater-focused exhibitors to one location to showcase educational
presentations and events that discusses solutions to stormwater management
challenges as well as new ideas and tools. This area also features networking events.
Anyone interested in taking advantage of
these opportunities can register online for an Exhibition Only pass to see
exhibitors and their technologies as well as access all the educational
opportunities in the exhibition at no charge.
Register to attend
WEFTEC 2014 at www.weftec.org/registration. Then, find
and add educational opportunities to your schedule in the WEFTEC 2014 mobile
app, available at
Navigate WEFTEC from the palm of your hand
the most from the WEFTEC® 2014 app
With 145 technical sessions, 31 workshops, more than 900
exhibitors, and numerous meetings and events, WEFTEC can be tough to navigate.
Luckily, the Water Environment Federation (Alexandria, Va.) has created WEFTEC
Mobile, an app for smartphones and tablets that puts all of the information at
The app can help you
before WEFTEC to find the sessions, exhibitors, and events that you want to see
as well as compile that information directly into a schedule for you to use
onsite. (It even can help with travel information and arrangements!) Once you
arrive in New Orleans, it becomes even more useful thanks to locator and
mapping abilities, social media integration, local tourism information, and
full abstracts from the technical program.
Download the PDF to
check out some tips below for getting the most out of the WEFTEC Mobile App.
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