Hands-on workshops at WEFTEC 2023 pair participants with experts and provide real-world experience.

WEFTEC® 2023 will feature 17 workshops. This assortment of full- and half-day learning opportunities dives into the latest trends and best practices in water quality monitoring, wastewater operations, industrial wastewater treatment, and many other topics. Attendees can enhance their knowledge and skills in cutting-edge technologies such as smart water systems, data analytics, artificial intelligence, and other emerging areas.

Bubbling Up

One of the workshops, W05: Aeration Control for Practitioners: Optimization of Aeration, Process, and Energy, stretches across multiple topics while ensuring a hands-on experience. This workshop focuses on improving aeration control systems in water resource recovery facilities. The workshop, which will be held Sunday, October 1, is designed specifically for operators to learn all the steps involved in a good aeration setup and how to apply these best practices to their facilities, according to Tanja Rauch-Williams, Ph.D., P.E., who is chair of the workshop. She also is National Wastewater Process and Innovation Lead for Carollo (Walnut Creek, California) as well as Vice Chair of the WEF Municipal Resource Recovery Design Community (MRRDC).

“We want to provide operators with an integrated knowledge of how hardware, software, and operation all work together,” she said.

At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to analyze aeration control system for inefficiencies, identify the contributing factors for inefficiencies, and apply a step-by-step approach to optimize aeration control performance challenges in the field or in their designs.

“With [aeration] efficiency comes very strong process advantages that you’re now able to actually realize in the facility,” Rauch-Williams explained. So, it is the gateway. Once you have your control, you’re set up for success.”


The number and variety of exhibiting companies onsite at WEFTEC help deliver a wealth of product education in the exhibition. Some workshops also invite manufacturers in to share their expertise with participants. Oscar & Associates

Workshops-shot.JPG Most WEFTEC workshops provide a blend of lectures, interactive exercises, and even hands-on opportunities to help participants learn in whatever way suits them best. Oscar & Associates

Expert Leadership

WEFTEC workshops often are sponsored by WEF technical committees, which WEF refers to as communities. MRRDC is the primary sponsor of this workshop with several cosponsoring communities: Plant Operations and Maintenance, Intelligent Water Technology, and the Energy Management Task Force.

“We need process knowledge. We need control knowledge. And we need hardware knowledge in this workshop,” Rauch-Williams said. “So, we chose the presenters to reflect all of this.”

The knowledge of all the presenters runs deep, she said. The workshop group already is working to integrate this knowledge and create a workshop that allows utilities to understand how to troubleshoot, identify where issues are, diagnose the problem, and address it.

Learning comes in all forms at WEFTEC. The exhibition allows attendees to get up-close to the latest equipment and products from across the entire water sector. Oscar & Associates

Digital and Physical Hands-On

Much like real-world examples, the aeration control workshop will require participants to use online tools as well as get hands-on with physical equipment.

For some of the day, participants will sit at computer stations to access a modeling package to simulate and demonstrate aeration control alternatives, challenges, solutions, and facilitywide considerations. The audience will participate in an interactive data evaluation exercise, in which the field data provided by facilities will be used to develop cause-and-effect control relationships.

Workshop facilitators also will team up with invited equipment experts to demonstrate physical pieces of equipment stationed around the room. Participants will split into smaller groups to rotate from station to station. At each station, participants will receive a brief introduction to the relevance of the specific component and its interaction with the overall aeration system, followed by an audience-driven Q&A and discussion of issues and challenges experienced in the field.

“We have the actual equipment there to allow the participants to physically walk around the stations to get a mental map and a better memory of what happens in each of these components,” Rauch-Williams said.

“We always encourage workshops to go beyond traditional lectures,” said Susan Merther, Director of WEFTEC Education. “We all learn different things in different ways. By blending lectures, group projects, and hands-on activities, workshops like this provide ideal ways to absorb information for everyone.”

More Workshop Information

These full- and half-day events enable attendees to focus on their preferred topic to stay at the forefront of advancements while enhancing their professional development. To see the full lineup of workshops, including dates and times available at WEFTEC 2023. (WEFTEC registration is not required to attend workshops.)

Steve Spicer is Editor in Chief of Water Environment & Technology. He can be reached at sspicer@wef.org

*Article ©Water Environment Federation 2023. Originally published in the July 2023 issue of Water Environment & Technology magazine.*

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