ACE 16 Highlights
With lead and other challenging water quality issues in daily headlines, more than 12,000 water professionals gathered for the American Water Works Association’s Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE16) in Chicago, IL to explore solutions. (ACE is the longest running water conference in the world, having first convened in 1881 as communities sought to conquer once-common waterborne diseases.) This year’s event featured several hundred presentations in 19 professional tracks and an exposition of more than 500 companies.
During a packed Opening General Session at the McCormick Place West Convention Center, AWWA CEO David LaFrance drew from Chicago’s history to demonstrate how water professionals have always overcome seemingly insurmountable hurdles, pointing out that the city reversed the flow of the Chicago River in just seven years. “We’ve all been hearing about lead in water,” LaFrance said. “How can we protect families today while we work for a lead-free future? … It is certainly complicated, but definitely possible. The bottom line is water professionals always find a way to take what is complicated and make it possible.” During the opening session, the Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore pointed out that apparent changes to the water cycle – whether they be from climate change or other factors – are worthy of attention from water professionals as they manage their resources.
In his keynote address, AWWA President Gene Koontz stressed that today’s water professionals must improve as communicators to assure consumers will have confidence in tap water. “Despite all of our successes, we find that new water quality issues constantly surface, whether they be old enemies like lead, or new ones like perfluorinated compounds,” Koontz said. “We will need empathy to understand the needs of each one of our customers, no matter what their background or status. Assurances that everything is OK is not good enough when even one of our customers has legitimate concerns or unmet needs.”
AWWA named administrator
AWWA has been named administrator of the US Technical Advisory Group for International Standards Organization Water Reuse Committees. AWWA will take over for the American Society of Plumbing Engineers as the administrator of a technical committee on water reuse and a subcommittee on urban reuse. ISO’s standards are developed by technical committees comprised of experts from the industrial, technical and business sectors requesting the standards. ISO’s mission is to promote the development of standardization to facilitate the international exchange of goods and services. As administrator of the group, AWWA will coordinate the US position on ISO standards developed on water reuse.
In fall 2015, AWWA and other water sector organizations released the Framework for Direct Potable Reuse to assist communities interested in developing sustainable water supplies through water reuse. AWWA also hosted the first International Symposium on Potable Reuse in January.
AWWA’s Reuse Resource Community webpage is continuously updated with resources, tools, issues and developments related to reuse. Individuals interested in volunteering as a water reuse subject matter expert for the ISO standards process should contact AWWA Sr. Manager – Standards Programs Paul Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taste test winners
The City of Bloomington, MN won the twelfth annual Best of the Best Tap Water Taste Test, comprised of regional winners from water-tasting competitions across North America. Second place went to the City of Iola, KN while third place honors went to the Village of Canajoharie, NY. The People’s Choice award winner, as determined by the conference attendees, went to City Corporation, Russellville, AR. The City of Bloomington utilities employs more than 50 people to run the water treatment plant, do field maintenance, serve customers and administer the area. The division processes clear, clean water at the water treatment plant and distributes it to the city’s more than 85,000 residents, while also processing the city’s wastewater.
Additional participants included: Anniston Water and Sewer Board, Anniston, AL; Augusta Utilities, Augusta, GA; Capital Region Water, Harrisburg, PA; City of Chesapeake, VA; City of Hamilton, OH; City of Manistique, MI; City of Moline, IL; City of St. John’s, Newfoundland; City of St. Louis, MO; City of Tallahassee, FA; City of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Duck River Utility Commission, Tullahoma, TN; Georgetown County Water & Sewer District, Pawley’s Island, SC; Keokuk, IA; Neuse Regional Water & Sewer Authority, LaGrange, NC; SUEZ Boise Operations, Boise,D; Town of Castle Rock, CO.; Trinity River Authority of Texas, Euless, TX and Wisconsin Rapids, WI.