WEFTEC 2018: Improve environment, educate community

The 91st annual event will be held Sept. 29–Oct. 3 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

All graphics courtesy of WEF
All graphics courtesy of WEF

The Water Environment Federation’s Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) is the largest annual water quality event in the world. The 91st annual event will be held Sept. 29–Oct. 3 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.

WEFTEC is aimed at bringing together water quality professionals from around the world with the best water quality education and training possible. The expansive show floor provides access to the most cutting-edge technologies in the field; serves as a forum for domestic and international business opportunities; and promotes peer-to-peer networking.

The exhibition and technical program continue to grow. Last year’s event in Chicago drew more than 32,000 attendees and more than 1,640 exhibitors from at least 128 countries, setting a new record for the show.27 Fc 0918 Weftec Box 1 262x300

Educational, community-focused programming

Featured events and programming for 2018 begin on Saturday, Sept. 29, with Jammin’4Water at the historic Carver Theater. Organized and hosted by Water Charities Fundraising, water quality professionals attending WEFTEC will perform an eclectic mix of musical entertainment. Proceeds will benefit the WEF Community Service Project.

The Students and Young Professionals Committee will host the 11th Annual WEF Community Service Project to offer attendees the opportunity to give back to the conference host city. Volunteers will spend the day at the Treme Recreation Community Center, where they will construct a bioswale and an educational green infrastructure graphic. The goal of the service project is to showcase the dedication of WEF volunteers to improving the water environment and educating the community about the value of water.

Another event that will appeal to students, young professionals and others is the 11th Annual "Pedal with a Purpose." The event involves a casual bicycle ride through the historical neighborhoods of New Orleans for a total distance of 25 miles. Proceeds from the ride support Water For People. WEFTEC bicycle rides have raised more than $20,000 for the organization.

Other noteworthy events and sessions include:

Opening General Session: Be a Hero. Water’s Worth It — The opening general session will be anchored by a keynote from Kevin Brown, a motivational speaker and author of The Hero Effect. His inspirational message will follow remarks from 2017-2018 WEF President Jenny Hartfelder and WEF Executive Director Eileen O’Neill. The keynote will also tie into the relaunch of WEF’s popular Water’s Worth It grassroots public awareness campaign.

Scientists’ Luncheon — Produced by WEF in collaboration with the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists and the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors, this event will celebrate leading academics and researchers, and the important role they play in advancing the science and technology of environmental protection.

Women in Water: Inspiring, Informing, Connecting — This event will involve a peer-to-peer exchange of knowledge and advice in support of women in the water industry. During this reception and session, female water sector leaders will represent a variety of disciplines, including engineering, operations, research, management and communications.

Water For People Bash — Organized and hosted by Water For People, this kick-off event will include music, food and drinks. Proceeds will support Water For People’s mission to promote the development of high-quality drinking water and sanitation services, accessible to all and sustained by strong communities, businesses and governments.

Students & Young Professionals Networking & Career Fair — The Career Fair is an opportunity for the younger crowd to expand their knowledge of the water quality industry and acquire better interviewing skills. Top environmental firms from the U.S. and Canada will be present to meet informally with students and young professionals.

Operations Challenge — Wastewater specialists will participate in the 31st Annual Operations Challenge. Wastewater collection and treatment operator teams will compete in a series of tests to demonstrate the best combination of precision, speed and safety.

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