The Water Environment Federation Technical Conference and Exhibition (WEFTEC) Round-up
This year’s WEFTEC was held on September 29 – October 3, 2018, in New Orleans. The site of the conference, the Ernest Morial Convention Center, is 1 km long. Call it a metric mile. WEFTEC pretty much fills the Center so you do end up walking off most of the po’ boys you inevitably end up eating. At this point WEFTEC is much more than a trade show.
From a stormwater point of view the committee activity around WEFTEC this year was busy and worthwhile. I participated in a panel at the SWEMA Breakfast Forum and helped present the newly launched Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) BMP Selection Tool at the SWEMA event and at the Stormwater Pavilion.
The National Stormwater Testing and Evaluation for Products and Practices (STEPP) initiative, intended to accelerate the adoption of innovative stormwater management technologies, has been advancing in fits and starts since 2012. It now seems to be maintaining its momentum and the current model that they are using, which relies on a consortium approach, is a noteworthy advancement. For example, they intend to leverage ASTM to develop protocols and ITRC to get the word out to the states, which are activities those organizations undertake anyhow. This will reduce the effort required and help STEPP satisfy the widespread demand for testing and validation in the US stormwater market.
In addition to STEPP, WEF has a Stormwater Committee. While STEPP aims to provide an overarching program for stormwater management, the Stormwater Committee works to provide more specific tools for stormwater management through leadership and advocacy. The Stormwater Committee met on the 3rd and they are looking to add to their leadership.
The Stormwater Pavilion part of the tradeshow was fairly busy, and it was convenient to have a number of manufacturers in the same area. There were examples of filters, oil grit separators and catch basin inserts on display. It was good to see some of our previous clients such as Hydro International and CB Shield at the show. GHL helped them verify their stormwater technologies (Downstream Defender – Hydro International and CB Shield – CB Shield) with ETV Canada.
Stormwater remains a relatively small part of the technical program but even so I was not able to get to as many sessions as I wanted. I did learn something new. Since New Orleans is completely surrounded by levees it is effectively a mechanically controlled watershed. What goes in must be pumped out. The streets are part of the stormwater conveyance system so 6” of water in the streets is not considered a flood. You would burn off a lot of po’ boys wading through that depth of water.
Overall it was a productive show. Mother Nature even provided us with 0.39 inches of rain in a short time on Wednesday afternoon, a noisy reminder that stormwater matters.