Welcome to the Fall 2009 edition of NEIWPCC’s new e-mail newsletter, iWR. Like the debut issue e-mailed in the summer, this edition features an interview with a prominent, vital figure in the water and wastewater arena. It is our intent to include such an interview in each iWR, and we hope you find the conversations interesting and informative. There is nothing quite like a person’s own voice to reveal the mind behind the accomplishments. Please let us know what you think about the interviews or anything else in iWR. Use this link to e-mail your comments and suggestions.
The Other Side of the Story
Water pollution issues seldom make the front page of The New York Times, but articles in the newspaper’s Toxic Waters series are getting page one exposure and, hence, plenty of attention—including in Washington, D.C. A House committee hearing on Oct. 15 focused in part on allegations in a Times article that EPA and the states are not adequately enforcing water pollution laws. At the hearing, representatives of states and interstates painted a different picture and an important one. Read the statements by ASIWPCA’s Tom Porta and ECOS’s Steven Brown. To watch a video of the hearing, visit the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s website. (In photo: Committee chair Rep. James Oberstar, D-MN, at the Oct. 15 hearing.)
Bioenergy Innovator: A Talk With Clarke Prize Winner Bruce Logan
The best ideas are not only brilliant in and of themselves, they also come along at the right time. In Bruce Logan’s case, his timing could not have been better. Logan, a professor of environmental engineering at Pennsylvania State University, is renowned for his work on new technologies that tap into the energy in wastewater to generate electricity, produce hydrogen gas that can be used as an alternative fuel, and even desalinate salt water. And one more thing—the wastewater is also treated in the process. This remarkable research earned Logan the National Water Research Institute’s 2009 Clarke Prize, which honors individuals for outstanding achievements in water science and technology. Read the iWR interview with Bruce Logan.
At wastewater treatment plants across the country, a troubling concern has emerged in recent years: who will fill the shoes of plant managers, so many of whom were hired in the 1970s and are ready to retire? To help address the concern, NEIWPCC’s JETCC training arm has joined with Maine DEP and the Maine WasteWater Control Association to deliver a new training program in Maine for mid-level operators with management potential. The year-long program began on October 15 (see photo above of the participants) and will cover everything from personnel management to media relations. The Maine program was inspired by the success of Rhode Island DEM’s “boot camps” for aspiring WWTP managers, which the agency is now holding for the third straight year. The RI boot camps are attracting national attention, as evidenced by the interview with program coordinator Bill Patenaude in Treatment Plant Operator magazine. NEIWPCC collaborated with RI DEM on developing the boot camps, and continues to play an active role. For more on these management training efforts, contact our training staff. For details on all of NEIWPCC's upcoming training programs, see our training schedule.
There is still time to sign up to attend NEIWPCC’s Electronic Sanitary Survey Workshop on November 10 at the EPA New England Laboratory in Chelmsford, Mass. This workshop is intended for state drinking water staff, particularly those who conduct sanitary surveys of public water systems but also those interested in the information the surveys generate. The workshop will provide participants with an overview of how states have implemented ESS, focusing on lessons learned and innovative ideas for enhancing ESS tools. Registration is free for state staff and just $15 for all others.
The call has gone out for abstracts from anyone interesting in delivering a presentation at the 21st Annual Nonpoint Source Pollution Conference to be held May 17-19, 2010, in Plymouth, Mass. The conference brings together all those in New England and New York State involved in NPS pollution management, and it has long been acknowledged as the premier forum in our region for sharing information on NPS pollution issues and projects. We expect the Plymouth event to meet or exceed the always high expectations. Sponsorship opportunities are available.