WEFTEC.07 is largest in event's 80-year history

Record-setting numbers of 19,929 attendees and 1,017 companies using 268,405 net square feet of floor space have designated WEFTEC.07 -- the Water Environment Federation's 80th Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference -- as the largest event in the conference's 80-year history. The previous exhibition records of 965 companies and 245,155 net square feet of floor space were set at WEFTEC.06 in Dallas and the previous attendance record of 18,704 was set at WEFTEC.02 in Chicago, the host city...

ALEXANDRIA, VA, Oct. 25, 2007 -- Record-setting numbers of 19,929 attendees and 1,017 companies using 268,405 net square feet of floor space have designated WEFTEC.07 -- the Water Environment Federation's 80th Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference -- as the largest event in the conference's 80-year history. The previous exhibition records of 965 companies and 245,155 net square feet of floor space were set at WEFTEC.06 in Dallas and the previous attendance record of 18,704 was set at WEFTEC.02 in Chicago, the host city for next year's conference.

In addition to the exhibition, last week's conference featured a high-quality technical program of 119 technical sessions, 25 workshops, 8 facility tours, and several special events. Of particular interest to attendees were workshops on biosolids and microbiology as well as technical sessions on water reuse, membrane technology, and green power for wastewater treatment plants. Benjamin H. Grumbles, Assistant Administrator for the U.S. EPA's Office of Water, made a special appearance during one of Monday's technical sessions, "The Next 35 Years of the Clean Water Act". He opened the session by recognizing the landmark legislation as "a great American success story" and "shining example for other countries throughout the world" before leading a discussion about preserving and extending the purpose of the Act for the next three and a half decades.

At Sunday's Opening General Session, keynote presenter Dr. Perry L. McCarty, the 2007 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate and Silas H. Palmer Professor (Emeritus) of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, received a standing ovation from the audience of nearly 2,000 for his invaluable contributions to the water quality profession. Internationally recognized as defining the field of environmental biotechnology -- the basis for pollution control and safe drinking water systems -- WEF President Mohamed Dahab described McCarty's work as "the standard by which excellence in environmental research is measured." Following the theme of sustainability, the opening program also included remarks from Dahab, incoming WEF President Adam Zabinski, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, and a special visual presentation from famed National Geographic photographer David Doubilet.

On Tuesday, as part of the "Presidential Celebration", Dahab ceremoniously "passed the gavel" of Federation leadership to Zabinski and inducted the remaining 2007-2008 WEF Officers and Board of Trustees. The ceremony culminated with awards presentations in recognition of the outstanding achievements of the most talented and dedicated professionals in the water quality community. In all, over 25 awards were presented at various events during the four-day conference.

On the international front, WEF renewed its commitment to working in Latin America and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Inter-American Association of Sanitary Engineers and Environmental Sciences (AIDIS). This agreement bolsters WEF's activities with AIDIS aimed at a more sustainable water environment in the Americas. In addition, Dahab announced that the Governing Board of the International Water Association (IWA) accepted an offer from WEF's Board of Trustees to share resources in both North America and abroad.

Other conference highlights included the first meeting of WEF's Sustainability Community of Practice; the Utility Executive Forum; the Water is Life, and Infrastructure Makes It Happen™ roundtable; WEFTeach; poster presentations; student activities; and the 20th annual Operations Challenge competition.

Recognized as the largest water quality event in North America and largest annual water quality exhibition in the world, WEFTEC continues to grow as plans for next year's conference get underway. To date, more than 750 companies have already reserved 263,000 square feet of floor space at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois for WEFTEC.08 which is scheduled to take place Oct. 18-22, 2008. For the latest WEFTEC news and information, visit www.weftec.org.

Formed in 1928, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization with 32,000 individual members and 80 affiliated Member Associations representing an additional 50,000 water quality professionals throughout the world.

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