Technical Education Focus Areas

 The WEFTEC Program Committee consists of 247 experts. The committee’s selective process, which incorporates only the top 50% of submissions, gives you only the best of the best. WEF's reputation for a high quality program continues.  

This 2016 guide provides highlights for each of the focus areas below. Click a topic or audience below to see key featured content. To customize your search, access the WEFTEC mobile app or computer version, which lets you search and create a customized WEFTEC experience.



Wastewater utilities are facing many common challenges, including aging infrastructure, increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, inflow/infiltration reduction, rising costs, rate structures, effective collection system management, and an ever-changing workforce.

  • Learn about the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance, and performance evaluation of wastewater collection systems and drinking water distribution systems.
  • Learn more about deep tunnels and sewers.
  • Attend 14th Annual Collection Systems Luncheon on Tuesday, September 29th  from 12:00 pm-1:30 pm featuring Adel Hagekhalil, P.E., BCEE, Assistant Director, City of Los Angeles' Bureau of Sanitation, who will discuss the City's award-winning "One Water" Water Integrated Resources Plan for the year 2020. 

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Energy use at a water or wastewater utility can be 30% to 50% of the municipality’s total electricity consumption, making energy sustainability a critical issue for operators, managers, and engineers alike. WEFTEC offers energy mentoring in small sessions, exposure to innovative startup companies, dozens of presentations by the leading authorities in energy management, as well as hands-on workshops.

Program Highlights include:

  • Hands-on workshops on curbing energy bills and the competition for carbon at WRRFs of the future..    
  • Sessions for in-depth learning on hot topics including: energy harvesting, recovery and use at WRRFs; anaerobic digestion; optimizing energy; resource recovery from food and beverage wastewaters, and many others.     
  • Coverage of energy throughout the treatment processes—including all aspects of energy conservation, management, and production.     

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Facility operations and maintenance are critical activities in delivering cost-effective environmental protection. Changing regulations, retiring labor forces, infrastructure replacements, and a challenging municipal fiscal environment have created significant need and opportunities for new knowledge.

  • Watch the 29th Annual Operations Challenge!
  • Tour the exhibit floor on mobile sessions. 
  • Come see finalists of the 2016 Operator Ingenuity Contest present their innovative solutions to persistent utility problems.
  • Experience hands-on learning with a variety of in-depth workshops and several local facility tours 

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Management of water and wastewater presents various strategic, technical, and economic challenges for industry. Topics included in this symposium address the modeling, design and operation of industrial wastewater treatment systems as well as other innovative topics. 

  • Learn about anaerobic and biological industrial treatment processes as well as physical and chemical treatment processes.
  • See how some industrial facilities are recovering resources from their wastewater.
  • Watch sessions on treating particular waste streams, such as petrochemical wastewater, Coca-Cola plants, steam electric power, or food and beverage waste streams.
  • Learn more about regulatory impacts.
  • See sessions on new applications of forward osmosis and workshops for refineries, and water reuse in the food and beverage industry.
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Innovation and implementation of new technology in the water environment sector is derived from fundamental research conducted at universities as well as more applied research conducted by practitioners associated with consulting engineers, utilities, industries, and governmental agencies. Research that represents collaborative efforts among these groups often leads to compelling programming, that you can experience at WEFTEC.

  • Check out the 2016 AEESP lecture: Maximizing Process Intensification and Minimizing Resource Use, featuring: Sudhir Murthy, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE, Innovations Chief, DC Water, Washington, DC, with an academic perspective from Dr. Glen Diagger 
  • Attend the 2016 AEESP/WEF Scientists’ Luncheon: From Treatment to Resource, featuring Dr. Bruce E. Rittmann, Director, Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, Arizona State University
Research and Innovation highlights include:
  • Alternative Sidestream Nitrogen Removal
  • Mainstream Shortcut Nitrogen Removal Technologies
  • Granular Sludge Processes 
  • Dissolved Organic Nitrogen Issues
  • Microconstituents
  • Greenhouse Gases from Wastewater Systems
  • Anaerobic Processes Resource Recovery 
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With increasingly stringent effluent limits, managing nutrients is a major challenge. The WEFTEC program provides comprehensive coverage of nutrient issues at watershed and facility levels, including facility design, process control and operations, and management issues. The program also presents the latest information on leading edge technologies and research on such topics as shortcut nitrogen removal, fermentation, supplemental carbon sources, ultra-low phosphorus removal, nutrient recovery and reuse, advancements in modeling, and many others. 

Programming topics include:

  • Nitrogen removal and control
  • Phosphorus removal and control
  • Nutrient removal and innovations in recovery
  • Industrial pretreatment solutions and technologies
  • State of the art wastewater treatment modeling
  • and more... 

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Aging infrastructure, strict regulatory requirements, and continued economic pressures have put unprecedented stress on local governments and agencies that provide essential water services. WEFTEC provides resources for public officials to better understand these challenges and opportunities to inform decision making.  

2016 Program Highlights include:  

  • Updates from the U.S. EPA
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Infrastructure Financing
  • Innovative Financing
  • Integrated Planning
  • Utility Management and Sustainability
  • Wet Weather Policy
  • Energy Production
  • Stormwater Policy & Financing
  • Nutrient Recovery
  • Resiliency and Security
  • Resource Recovery
  • Educational tours of the exhibit hall
  • and more... 






Management of residuals and biosolids can account for as much as 50% of treatment costs at resource recovery facilities. However, these residuals also contain significant amounts of nutrients that provide incentives for beneficial reuse or revenues if reclaimed and sold.  These “leftovers” contain carbon compounds that can be converted to more usable forms such as methane gas or solids fuel.

  • Discover the energy potential from biosolids aimed at cost reduction and increased sustainability.
  • Augment your understanding of biosolids as a resource and a building block for environmentally friendly, effective, and efficient utility management.
  • Explore the many facets of stakeholder decisions in planning, implementing, and operating a co-digestion program.
  • Join in the discussion of research findings, both historic and new, as a tool to communicate the safety of biosolids to the public.
  • Network with biosolids experts from a broad network of focus areas, such as land application, resource recovery, biogas, and others. 

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Stormwater is one of the number one threats to water quality worldwide. The stormwater sector is poised for significant growth worldwide, as governments struggle to find affordable, effective solutions for managing stormwater.  Infiltration-based practices, such as green infrastructure, are being used more and more frequently to address combined sewer overflows and other stormwater management challenges. 

The Stormwater Congress is a specialized educational opportunity included with the WEFTEC program and features workshops, technical sessions, facility tour opportunities, luncheons and networking receptions, as well as access to the entire WEFTEC technical programming and exhibition.  Sessions cover diverse topics such as modeling, design, monitoring, financing, implementation, management, and many more.  Special tracks are included for utility managers, modelers, applied designers, watershed managers, and researchers.  If it is about stormwater, it will be covered at the Stormwater Congress.

Visit the Stormwater Pavilion for additional programming on innovative stormwater products, award-winning green infrastructure designs, and upcoming stormwater research. 


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The skills needed for effective utility management are increasingly diverse. No longer can today’s utility manager be only inward-focused, even though managing budgets, retention of staff knowledge, and personnel management still remain important tasks. External stakeholders such as boards and governments, ratepayers, the press, and the public all must be managed simultaneously. WEFTEC offers a diverse suite of programming to address the needs of the modern utility manager in addition to the technical knowledge to help you efficiently meet regulatory requirements.

Don’t miss these Utility Management Focus Events at WEFTEC 2016:

  • Utility Management Committee Meeting, Sunday, September 25
  • Special Water Leaders Session-Great Water Cities: Creating the Future of Water in Great Water Cities, Monday, September 26, 10:00 am-12:00 pm 
Tuesday, September 27 | 8:00 am – 9:45 am
Join your fellow utility managers for breakfast and a discussion of the top water policy issues facing the clean water community.    

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Water reuse is one of the three major aspects of resource recovery, along with energy and nutrients. Direct potable reuse has been a topic of discussion for 50 years, and is now becoming a reality as water shortages and sustainability are on the forefront around the globe.

WEFTEC 2016 provides critical education that includes: big-picture water recycling planning, asset management for small reuse utilities, reclaimed water for water supply sustainability, and reuse technologies in the industrial sector, such as: upstream oil
& gas, agriculture, and food & beverage processing.


WEFTEC 2016 Water Reuse Programming Helps You: 


  • Realize water supply reliability improvements through water reclamation
  • Explore the latest reuse technology advances, including: low-energy membranes, zero liquid discharge, advanced oxidation, and disc filtration 
  • Learn how to reclaim revenue from industrial reuse
  • Apply asset management at small utilities to advance water reuse
  • Find out why the time for direct potable reuse may be now
  • Determine if decentralized water recycling successes can be achieved in your community 


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 As water quality standards move the industry toward more complex technologies while requiring sustainable and cost effective approaches, the need for innovation in municipal water resource recovery design increases significantly. WEFTEC offers a myriad of offerings focused on liquid treatment design aspects of municipal water resource recovery. Learn how you can improve and optimize the design of these complex treatment processes and technologies.

  •  Learn about innovations, improvements, and optimization projects for the design and selection of technologies, equipment, and processes for water resource recovery facilities.
  • Find out more about the preliminary and primary treatment; secondary treatment; advanced treatment; process design and modeling; energy; and instrumentation, automation, and process control presentation topics. 

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Water is necessary in every facet of our lives, from the environment to agriculture and industry. In water-scarce areas, managing a water supply so that all parties can flourish is a challenge, exacerbated by climate change, increasing demand, and other factors. In some areas, flooding and water quality issues threaten water supplies.

Whether water is used for drinking, industrial processes, or irrigation, it is a resource too precious to waste. Join water distribution, treatment, and efficiency experts from all over North America, to learn about the latest advances in efficient water management. Water utility and joint water/wastewater utility managers can find critical information at WEFTEC to meet the challenges of today’s water- and budget-constrained world.

  • Hear insights on direct and indirect potable reuse
  • Learn novel approaches to treatment for water reuse
  • Master the latest on UV and chlorine disinfection
  • Get answers to questions about pipe assessment management and trenchless technology
  • Explore the world’s largest annual water quality exhibit with guided tours on membranes for desalination, UV and chlorine disinfection
  • Hear about advances in desalination brine management 
  • Discover ways to improve water infrastructure sustainability for future generations 

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