UIM Conference Draws Utility Leaders to D.C. Area

The 12th annual Water Utility Infrastructure Management (UIM) Conference was held Nov. 28-29 at the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington, Va. The event — titled “Transforming the Culture of Water Infrastructure Management” —was held in conjunction with Virginia Tech’s WATERiD and Buried Asset Management Institute-International (BAMI-I) annual meetings.

UIM and Trenchless Technology publisher Bernie Krzys (left) and editor Jim Rush (right) present the Water Infrastructure Management Award to Steve Allbee.More than 80 participants gathered for high-level discussions of asset management and the latest trends and issues affecting water and sewer utility professionals. Topics covered ranged from financial and legislative issues to technology and case histories. One of the hallmarks of the conference is the dialogue between speakers and participants in an open and relaxed setting. Upgrading aging infrastructure and information management were among the topics discussed the most during the conference.

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The UIM Conference began on the afternoon of Nov. 28 with a utility panel, moderated by NAWAC’s Michael Deane, that featured representatives from the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, Fairfax County, Ocean County (N.J.), Town of Spindale, N.C., City of Baltimore and American Water. Panelists discussed the state of their water and sewer infrastructure and what they are doing to keep it up to date.

Following the panel there was a reception and awards dinner. At the awards dinner, Steve Allbee, director of the Gap Analysis at U.S. EPA, was presented with the first annual UIM Water Infrastructure Management Award. Virginia Tech professor Sunil Sinha also presented WATERiD awards. Award included: WATERiD Utility Awards — Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC), David Burke; Portland Water Bureau, Eric Brainich; WATERiD DUG (Database User Group) Awards: Rick Nelson, CH2M HILL; Ken Jacob — Cobb County, Ga., WATERiD Volunteer Awards — Condition Assessment Drinking Water — Larry Catalano, Aurora (Colo.) Water; Condition Assessment Wastewater — Matt Stolte, Town of Blacksburg, Va.; Renewal Engineering Drinking Water — Wayne Green, Regional Municipality of York, Canada; Renewal Engineering Wastewater — Kevin Hadden, Orange County (Calif.) Sanitation District; Financial Information — Ed Sorenson, Anchorage (Alaska) Water and Wastewater Utility; Management Practice — Duncan Rose, GHD; Benchmarking — Wayne Francisco, GHD; Utility Engineering — Jim Anspach, SUE Consulting; Product Qualification — Bill Suchodolski, Ocean County (N.J.) Utilities Authority.

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In 2013, Benjamin Media — publisher of Trenchless Technology and Water Utility Infrastructure Magazine (UIM) is planning two UIM Conferences: one on the West Coast in the spring and its annual fall conference in the Washington, D.C., area. Information about the events can be found at uimonline.com. The UIM Conference began in 2001 as the Underground Infrastructure Advanced Technology Conference and has emerged as leading gathering of high-level water and sewer professionals tasked with maintaining and upgrading these vital resources.

In addition to WATERiD and BAMI-I, Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech’s Sustainable Water Infrastructure Management (SWIM) center and the Water Finance Research Foundation collaborated on the event. Sponsors included the PVC Pipe Association (Main Event Sponsor), the Plastics Pipe Institute (Awards Reception and Dinner Sponsor), Cityworks (Lunch Sponsor), and AP/M Permaform and Malcolm Pirnie/Arcadis (Tableltop Sponsors).

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