WEFTEC Returns To New Orleans This Weekend

NEW ORLEANS – If it’s about water, it will be at WEFTEC.

         WEFTEC will take place September 24-28, 2016, at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (MCCNO), Great Hall, Halls B-I, and will bring an estimated 25,000 attendees.

         As the largest annual water quality conference and exhibition in the world, the Water Environment Federation’s (WEF) annual Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) continues to offer the best educational, business and networking opportunities in the water profession today, event reps said.

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         This year’s world-class technical program, will feature more than 100 technical sessions, 35 workshops, seven local facility tours and a full suite of New Orleans and Louisiana focused content.

         As a complement to the technical program, WEFTEC’s exhibition will provide access to 1,000 exhibiting companies, equipment demonstrations and leading technical experts showing the latest developments, research, solutions and cutting-edge technologies in the field. The Innovation Showcase and Innovation Pavilion will feature products and programming to encourage ideas and creativity in the water sector. Also featured on the show floor will be a 10,000-square-foot Stormwater Pavilion that will showcase the latest in stormwater technologies, from combined sewer overflows (CSO) treatment and nutrient removal to UV disinfection of stormwater runoff.

         The Stormwater Pavilion is part of the larger Stormwater Congress, a conference-within-a-conference that is co-located with WEFTEC 2016. Featuring 17 sessions and more than 70 world-class speakers, the program encompasses all pressing aspects of stormwater management including regulations and policies; flood impacts and mitigation; stormwater and transportation systems; green infrastructure benefits; financing challenges, and more.

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         WEF is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of 33,000 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.

         WEFTEC will meet in New Orleans every other year from now until 2024. This year’s WEFTEC is expected to generate an estimated $21.1 million in economic impact.


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(All Events Taking Place at MCCNO, unless otherwise noted)


• Saturday, September 24

         Ninth Annual WEF Community Service Project: 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; New Orleans City Hall, 1300 Perdido Street; More than 200 volunteers will install green infrastructure elements at New Orleans City Hall. This project embodies WEF’s mission to promote civic engagement while making a positive impact on the WEFTEC host city. There will be a special ribbon cutting ceremony at 2:30 p.m.


• Monday, September 26

         Opening General Session: 8:30-9:30 a.m., Great Hall A; Keynote speaker Joe Whitworth, president of the Freshwater Trust, will help set the tone for WEFTEC 2016 as he discusses how technology and finance improves conservation efforts. Whitworth will also share insights from his book, “Quantified: Redefining Conservation for the Next Economy.” The Opening General Session will also be streamed live at www.weftec.org.

         Great Water Cities: Creating the Future of Water: 10 a.m.-Noon; Great Hall A; Cedric S. Grant, Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, will moderate this panel discussion that convenes water leaders from around the world. During the session, panelists will talk about their individual approaches and solutions to common challenges facing the water industry. The Great Water Cities Session will also be streamed live at www.weftec.org.

         Water Entrepreneurship in Southeast Louisiana: 2:30 p.m.; Room 342; Andrea Chen, Executive Director of the New Orleans-based business incubator, Propeller, will discuss how entrepreneurship has played a part in coastal restoration and green infrastructure. Her talk is part of a session that focuses on green infrastructure for workforce development.


• Tuesday, September 27 

         Operations Challenge: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Hall F; The Louisiana Water Environment Association’s Water Dawgs, a team from the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, will compete against more than 40 teams from across the U.S., Canada and Argentina during this exciting skills competition for wastewater treatment operations personnel.


• Wednesday, September 28

         A Celebration of Operator Innovation, Excellence, and Professionalism: 10 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; Celebrating New Orleans’ Finest! Jerome Marshall, quality assurance service inspector in the Networks Division of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, and a member of the Water Dawgs (Operations Challenge team), will be honored as the New Orleans Municipal Employee of the Year award. Marshall was also the recipient of the 2016 Marcia St. Martin Employee of the Year award. This celebratory session will also feature winners of WEF’s Operators Ingenuity Contest, awardees of the Certified Mission Critical Professional and the Professional Operator designations, as well as an overview of the Operations Challenge.




(Note that all facility tours require a reservation, with priority given to paying attendees)


• Monday, September 26 

         St. Bernard Parish Munster Wastewater Treatment Plant facility: 1 p.m. Tour Louisiana’s most flood-proof water resource recovery facility which is part of a study that will use biosolids to benefit area wetlands.

         Gentilly Resilience District: Implementing the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan and HUD National Disaster Resilience Competition: 1 p.m. This green infrastructure tour includes three sites that show off New Orleans green infrastructure: Lafitte Greenway-Blueway and Drainage Pump Station 21, Spanish Fort at the Bayou St. John, Mirabeau Water Garden.


• Tuesday, September 27

         Abita Brewing Company: 9 a.m.; This sold-out tour will focus on the brewery’s commitment to corporate social responsibility, and will include information about Abita’s environmentally friendly practices, such as the on-site water resource recovery facility that allows it to generate its own energy.

         St. Tammany Parish Timber Branch II and Del Sol Stormwater Pond: 9 a.m.; This tour will show how one facility is working to restore the surrounding freshwater wetland habitat.

         GroundWork New Orleans facility: 1 p.m.; This tour includes visits to two sites that feature green infrastructure elements. The first stop is Crescent Park which is home to a 1.4-mile strip that contains indigenous landscaping and permeable pavement, both features designed to alleviate stormwater runoff. The second stop is the Earth Labs green infrastructure site in the Lower Ninth Ward, which includes an outdoor classroom, rain barrels and a native plant nursery. The site also houses a green infrastructure training program for area youth.


• Wednesday, September 28

         Ascension Parish Marvin Braud Pump Station: 9 a.m.; Tour this facility, located in the McElroy Swamp area, that can pump 3 million gallons per minute and serves the cities of Gonzales and Prairieville. 

         Sustainable Design Tour: Make It Right Lower Ninth Ward: 9 a.m.; In 2007, actor Brad Pitt founded Make It Right, a nonprofit dedicated to building homes and communities for those in need. The buildings all meet the highest green standards, and work with neighborhoods across the country to change the way buildings are designed and built. Make It Right committed to building 150 homes in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, which was hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina in 2004. To date, 100 homes have been built, and more than 350 are living in Make It Right homes.



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