Water Online

September 2017

Water Innovations gives Water and Wastewater Engineers and end-users a venue to find project solutions and source valuable product information. We aim to educate the engineering and operations community on important issues and trends.

Issue link: https://wateronline.epubxp.com/i/861825

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wateronline.com n Water Innovations In It Together: Water Pros Share Problems And Solutions EDITOR'S LETTER By Kevin Westerling Chief Editor, editor@wateronline.com 6 T he value of water professionals was never lost on Rick Warner. After all, he pursued a career in the field, ascending all the way to president of the Water Environment Federation, assuming the "gavel of leadership" in September 2016. But even having entered his term with profound respect for water workers, he has since developed an even greater appreciation for the efforts and accomplishments of a widening set of environmental stewards. It is, without doubt, an industry fraught with familiar challenges — one being water scarcity, which hits especially close to home for Warner. He is senior engineer for Washoe County, NV, where he's working to bring the state's first potable reuse project online in Reno. He's also a member of the American Water Works Association, the WateReuse Association, the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation, the Design-Build Institute of America, and the University of Nevada Civil and Environmental Engineering Advisory Board. These credentials, along with his proven aptitude for leading and convening, made him a smart choice for president (his successful run ends in October, when he'll pass the gavel to President-Elect Jenny Hartfelder, PE, at the conclusion of WEFTEC 2017). Even so qualified, Warner says he learned quite a bit during his tenure. We discussed the current state and future direction of the industry, ongoing developments and discoveries, and how innovation — this publication's calling card — may be the key to solving our persistent water and wastewater challenges. What trends or challenges do you predict for the industry within the next decade or so? Unfortunately, some of the challenges are still around aging infrastructure and the need for investment. But the dynamics are challenging. When the Clean Water Act was created about 45 years ago, many water and wastewater systems were federally funded with water grants. Now, almost universally, funding for water infrastructure comes from local government fees, connection fees, and user rates. While some communities are more disadvantaged, the infrastructure still needs to get replaced on a regular cycle, and that issue will likely remain 10 years from now. We have, however, begun to make inroads toward bringing public awareness to the value of water and infrastructure. It's wonderful when the public, policymakers, and public officials recognize that water infrastructure not only provides community health and recreation but also serves economic development. When all of those things come together, you have triple-bottom-line benefit — social, environmental, and financial. That's where the real momentum comes, but getting there is the challenge. Federal dollars through the State Revolving Fund loan programs or financing programs such as WIFIA [the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act] are going to help — but, again, it's most likely going to be the local folks who pay for infrastructure. Can innovation around resource recovery, or elsewhere, help with financing new infrastructure? Absolutely — we see it all the time. In fact, we've had great success at WEF embracing innovation, particularly around nutrients. We've helped communities implement innovative technologies to reduce the nutrients being discharged to their local water systems, while also reducing the amount of concrete infrastructure that has to be built. But what's really innovative is what's happening around energy recovery. We're used to seeing wastewater systems utilize anaerobic digesters for some degree of energy production, You might say that there's a lot wrong with the water industry — problems including infrastructure, financing, and scarcity — but there's also a lot going right. In this Q&A, Water Environment Federation (WEF) President Rick Warner is a source of insight and optimism. 101 Gibraltar Road, Suite 100 Horsham, PA 19044 PH: (215) 675-1800 FX: (814) 899-5587 Email: info@wateronline.com Website: www.wateronline.com CHIEF EDITOR Kevin Westerling (215) 675-1800 ext. 120 kwesterling@vertmarkets.com PUBLISHER Travis Kennedy (215) 675-1800 ext. 122 tkennedy@vertmarkets.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Patrick Gallagher (215) 675-1800 ext. 129 pgallagher@vertmarkets.com PRODUCT MANAGER Bill King (215) 675-1800 ext. 100 bking@vertmarkets.com MANAGING EDITOR Angel Clark (814) 897-9000 ext. 285 aclark@vertmarkets.com PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Lynn Netkowicz (814) 897-9000 ext. 205 lnetkowicz@vertmarkets.com PRODUCTION MANAGER Susan Day (215) 675-1800 ext. 101 sday@vertmarkets.com DIRECTOR OF AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT Martin Zapolski (814) 897-9000 ext. 337 mzapolski@vertmarkets.com DIRECTOR OF ONLINE DEVELOPMENT Art Glenn aglenn@vertmarkets.com Reprints, Eprints, and NXTprints The YGS Group (800) 290-5460 VertMarketsReprints@theYGSgroup.com www.theYGSgroup.com ADDRESS CORRECTIONS Send to Water Online at above address, or email circ@vertmarkets.com. 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