August 2014, Vol. 26, No.8

WEFTEC Preview

Click on the headline to jump to that article below   



Creating a strategy to attend WEFTEC 2014  


Tips to obtaining approval and accessing education at WEF’s annual conference and exhibition    

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  

“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  

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 said.  

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.  

Resources to use   

See the YouTube presentation offering tips to prepare an attendance request at 

Find information on why attending is important at . 

Access WEF’s resources for reporting on the value of attending WEFTEC, including a benefits worksheet, return on investment worksheet, cross-training feedback form, session and contact notes form, and conference follow-up report at .  

Find details about WEF’s Utility Partnership Program at or contact WEF staff member, Brittany Burch, at . 

Find details about education, resources, and information available in the exhibition at

Find the WEFTEC 2014 registration packages at . 



 Craft a schedule that appeals to your learning style at WEFTEC 2014 


Whether 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.  


Tours show real-world applications  

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.  


Traditional 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. 


Exhibition 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 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   

Getting 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 your fingertips. 

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. 


©2014 Water Environment Federation. All rights reserved.