This week, CH2M HILL joins more than 17,000 water professionals from around the world for one of the biggest water quality events in North America, WEFTEC 2013. Julian Sandino, CH2M HILL Vice President and Technology Senior Fellow shares a snapshot of activities taking place this week at WEFTEC, which is being held in Chicago. From technical presentations and workshops to blues music and community service projects, there is a lot to see, do and learn!

By: Julian Sandino, Ph.D., CH2M HILL Vice President and Technology Senior Fellow

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed and the time has come for me and my colleagues, along with thousands of water professionals from around the world, to head to Chicago, Illinois, for WEFTEC 2013—the largest water quality conference and expo in the U.S. It seems appropriate that Chicago is the host city of this year’s event, as the City of Chicago is demonstrating forward-thinking ways to upgrade its water infrastructure. With more than 4,500 miles of water mains and 340,000 related structures, this isn’t an easy task, but the City recognizes the importance of implementing green infrastructure to manage wastewater and stormwater. Take a tour of Chicago projects and see for yourself how the City is leading the effort to address our nation’s aging infrastructure.

2013 has been a busy year for CH2M HILL’s Water Business Group, and we are excited to share some of the cool new projects we have been working on with our valued clients at WEFTEC, as well as the technologies we are developing to set new standards for the industry.

Whether you’re experiencing WEFTEC for the first time or if you are a seasoned attendee, there are so many exciting activities that you can take part in to grow your knowledge, including 27 workshops and 140 presentations—look for complete details on the WEFTEC website or by using the WEFTEC mobile app.  Throughout the week, several of my CH2M HILL colleagues will be moderating and participating in workshops and presentations, sharing information on a broad range of topics, such as managing energy in wastewater treatment, treating wastewater from petroleum refineries and petrochemical plants, utility optimization, innovative biological nitrogen removal, and so much more! Be sure to check out our full technical presentation schedule so you can make the most of your WEFTEC experience.

I am excited to share that one of our projects in Fort Campbell, Kentucky is being recognized at WEFTEC with the 2013 WEF Safety Award. The WEF Safety Award encourages active and effective safety programs in the water environment, and at CH2M HILL, we have worked hard to incorporate safety in all that we do. Our Water Business Group celebrated a major milestone earlier this year, accumulating 15 million consecutive work hours without a day away/restricted time case (now up to 18 million). I will also be receiving special recognition this year as a 2013 WEF Fellow. I am honored to receive this distinction and look forward to connecting with other award winners at the WEF Awards and Presidential Reception on Tuesday evening.

In addition to the technical training and education opportunities at WEFTEC, don’t miss your chance to explore all the City of Chicago has to offer. We are participating in the WEFTEC Community Service Project on Saturday, hosted by the Students and Young Professionals Committee. We will spend the day helping create a rain garden at Haines Elementary school in Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood. Currently the playground is built on a concrete slab with a few trees breaking it up, so by installing green infrastructure, the project will not only teach kids about the value of water, but will help reduce flooding and increase natural absorption of storm water.

Are you an aspiring water professional? WEFTEC is a great venue for you. With special young professional receptions and activities, including a Networking and Career Fair on Monday afternoon, as well as an Industrial Networking Reception, you will have an opportunity to meet industry experts and explore opportunities in the water industry. Recruiters from CH2M HILL will be present to answer questions about career opportunities with our water team, as well as internships for students and recent graduates. Stop by our booth and learn more about what it’s like to work at CH2M HILL.

If you can’t attend this year’s conference but still want to stay connected on what’s happening in Chicago, follow Access Water, where we will be sharing WEFTEC conference content from our technical experts on the blog all week.  Additionally, follow us on Facebook and Twitter (using the #WEFTEC13 hashtag) for timely updates.

Dr. Sandino is a Vice President, Technology Senior Fellow and Assistant Director of Technology at CH2M HILL, with more than 25 years of experience leading and assisting multidisciplinary teams in more than 300 sanitary infrastructure and environmental projects throughout the world. He was selected as a 2013 Water Environment Federation Fellow for his distinguished accomplishments in and contributions to the global water environment, which he will be recognized for at WEFTEC. He will be presenting, “Leading Edge Nutrient Removal Research and Practical Applications”, “Mainstream Anaerobic and Nutrient Removal Systems for Energy Neutral Wastewater Management”, “Achieving Energy Self-Sufficiency in a Nutrient Removal Facility Through Operational Optimization”, and “Improving Wet Weather Flow Management at Treatment Facilities: The Need for New Perspectives” during WEFTEC.