AWWA ACE 23 show recap

July 17, 2023
The WaterWorld team reports the hottest topics and products at ACE 2023.

ACE is the annual conference and exhibition for the American Water Works Association at which water professionals convene to attend educational sessions and learn about new products from exhibitors. Below is an overview of the major trends present at ACE 2023.

On the regulatory side of things, PFAS are front of mind. Treatment, cost of treatment and PFAS analysis are paramount because the parts per trillion requirement is so low. There is a startup that is developing a portable testing kit to deliver near real time results, which could change how utilities deal with the issue while complying with the Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) EPA has proposed. Also, the AWWA submitted its final comments on the MCL proposal for PFAS chemicals, which encouraged EPA to align the regulation with current science rather than outcry from the public.

Cybersecurity is becoming a more immediate issue because of the growth of technology and remote capabilities. There were presentations not only about how utilities can deal with it locally, but there were also presentations on the EPA cybersecurity test bed, which would test how different product solutions and software could be penetrated or made vulnerable and ways to counteract that.

There seems to be more education needed for engineers and consultants regarding Build America, Buy America. Due to waivers, professionals have not had to change their work in the same way that manufacturers have had to thus far. Manufactured product guidance remains to be seen more than one year after the BABA effective date. Official guidance is expected from the Made in America Office in the coming months, but given this history of what has been seen thus far, and how complicated and complex this element of BABA is, there is not much confidence in that timeline for the release of any guidance.

Presently utilities are complying with the lead service line inventory portion of LCRR that is due by October of 2024. Jeff Swertfeger from Cincinnati Water Works spoke with WaterWorld at AWWA ACE23 on the urgent focuses for utilities. Critical guidance included being diligent about the standards by which inventories should be submitted, and utilities should consult their state for inventory formats as requirements and standards differ from state to state. The other major element is that communications need to include the how and why around which parts of a community get priority for replacement. Communicating ahead of fulfilling the inventories to build trust within communities when they’ll need it most.

 EPA has proposed changes to consumer confidence reports (CCR’s) that would affect states and water systems nationwide. Thought leadership on this matter was presented at the show. WaterWorld Editor Jeremy Wolfe said “it is also just representative of a trend overall nationally about heightened federal involvement for water systems in the U.S., which I think just touches on all of these [topics] and will continue to do so in the years ahead.”

Smart water is fully embracing the changes in technology, particularly as it relates to artificial intelligence. One example is Klir which unveiled the use of generative AI through Microsoft, including chatGPT to augment and elevate its water utility management platform. Many other solutions tagged onto the trend of AI, but are marketing themselves to align with growing industry issues, namely workforce, hiring and retention. 

For example, a challenge utilities are concerned with is hiring and retention, and some smart water companies are finding that AI and ML can help with this by automating some functions to minimize decision points by utility professionals. Also, logging historical data means that utilities will limit the loss of knowledge from retirees.

The WaterWorld editorial team created product galleries showcasing products from the show in five categories: New Products; Leak Detection Products; Smart Water Solutions; Lead and Copper Rule Solutions; PFAS Treatment Solutions and Products. Visit to view each of these media galleries.

In episode 70 of the Talking Under Water podcast Endeavor Water Group editorial director, Bob Crossen and Wolfe discuss their time at the conference. Listen to the episode at for an in-depth look at ACE23 trends.

Finally, WaterWorld also has more than 10 video interviews with industry experts filmed at the show, which will be available at

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