WEFTEC.06, the Water Environment Federation’s 79th annual technicalexhibition and conference, hosted 17,632 attendees and a record 965 companiesusing 245,155 sq ft of floor space Oct. 21-25 in Dallas, officially designatingWEFTEC as the largest annual water quality exhibition in the world.
“The core of WEF’s mission and the reason it was created over 75 years agowas to educate professionals within the water quality community,” says newlyappointed WEF president Mohamed Dahab. “I’m pleased that WEFTEC continues tobuild upon past successes to offer the best educational opportunities availabletoday and grows each year, not only in size, but in scope to meet the evolvingchallenges of water quality professionals.”
In addition to the expansive show floor, attendees selected from ahigh-quality technical program of 95 technical sessions, 25 workshops, eightfacility tours and several special events. Of particular interest to attendeeswas a standing-room only session on compounds of emerging concerns (CEC) and awell-attended session on a 2006 Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF)biosolids report. The CEC session focused on endocrine disrupting compounds(EDCs) and will be followed by a two-day symposium in July 2007 with tentativeplans for a three-day specialty conference in 2008. The WERF report, released inJune, investigated the hypothesis Phase 2 of this work — currently in progress.It is hoped that work in this area will verify and promote better understandingon the reactivation and regrowth phenomena, as well as help develop mitigationstrategies.
In addition, WEF announced the adoption of a new climate change resolutionduring the Opening General Session on Oct. 23. Officially adopted by WEF’s Boardof Trustees on Oct. 20, the resolution recognizes climate change and its impactson the planet’s natural hydrologic cycle. Then-president Michael Read made theannouncement following the keynote address by Dr. James Hansen, director ofNASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and top climate change scientist.Recognized as the leading U.S. expert on climate change and global warming,Hansen provided an in-depth overview of the issue, discussed future scenariosand outlined practical implications to hydrology and water management to anaudience of nearly 2,000 water quality professionals.
The following day, as part of the “WEF Celebration of Excellence,” Readceremoniously “passed the gavel” of federation leadership to Dahab. Alsoinducted were the 2006-2007 WEF Officers: president-elect Adam Zabinski; vicepresident Rebecca West; and treasurer Charles Weir. The ceremony culminated withawards presentations in recognition of the outstanding achievements of the mosttalented and dedicated professionals in the water quality community. In all,more than 25 awards were presented at various events during the four-dayconference.
On the international front, 1,970 international attendees — including 206trade delegations from 13 countries — visited the Global Center where conferenceexhibitors had the opportunity to meet with buyers and market experts. WEF alsoworked in cooperation with the U.S. Trade Development Agency to organize anetworking session with WEFTEC exhibitors and delegates from six sub-SaharanAfrican regions including Botswana, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Kenya, Nigeria,Senegal and South Africa. The session provided exhibitors with the opportunityto learn more about new developments in the region’s water and wastewatersectors.
Other conference highlights included a “Water is Life, and InfrastructureMakes It Happen” program update, WEFTeach, poster presentations, studentactivities and Operations Challenge 2006, where the Water EnvironmentAssociation of Texas Trinity River Authority (TRA) CReWSers successfullydefended their title against a record 43 teams from the United States, Canadaand Argentina.
Already recognized as the largest water quality event in North America,WEFTEC continues to grow as plans for WEFTEC.07 get under way. To date, nearly800 companies have already reserved more than 236,000 sq ft of space atWEFTEC.07, which is scheduled at the San Diego Convention Center Oct. 13-17,2007, in San Diego. For the latest WEFTEC news, visit www.weftec.org.