April, 2019: GMWEA Awards Scholarships at STEM Fair
Congratulations to our water quality project scholarship winners at the 2019 Vermont Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Fair! The four students were chosen from among 200 student scientists who presented their projects on March 30, at Norwich University. The annual fair features exhibits by middle and high school students from throughout the state, all of whom won local-level competitions for their experiments.
Clearly, cyanobacteria/algae and phosphorus are hot topics in Vermont’s schools, and all four 2019 winners addressed them in various ways.
We commend these terrific young scientists for their enthusiasm, discipline, and devotion to water ecosystems!
Many thanks are due to Aaron Perez and Paul Sestito, water systems specialists at Vermont Rural Water Association, for joining executive director Daniel Hecht to judge this year’s STEM fair.
For more information and photos of the winners, visit our blog at www.gmweablog.org. (Scroll down the page to find the article.)
October 30: 2019 Fall Tradeshow Update
GMWEA presented its annual Fall Tradeshow on October 30, at Burlington’s DoubleTree Hotel. The event featured a night-before welcome reception, 90 vendor exhibits, seven technical training sessions, speakers, and other activities, and true to tradition, it drew a full house – over 400 attended.
For the first time ever, GMWEA solicited sponsorships for the event, and is grateful to gold sponsors Aldrich & Elliott and Ti-Sales as well as bronze sponsors DN Tanks and Surpass Chemical for their support!
We were especially pleased to have Janine Burke-Wells as our featured lunch-time speaker. Former president of New England Water Environment Association (NEWEA) and now executive director of North East Biosolids and Residuals Association (NEBRA), Janine holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an M.A. in Public Administration. She spent 11 years as executive director of the Warwick, R.I., Sewer Authority, and before that 10 years working with the U.S. EPA Region One. This expertise, spanning both the immediate details of wastewater management and the larger concerns of public administration, makes her uniquely qualified to offer perspectives on the state of the field.
Of particular concern to attendees was the future of wastewater management and biosolids in the context of current concern over PFAS; here, Janine offered words of both caution and encouragement. In essence, she believes that every aspect of the wastewater field will always be facing close regulatory and public scrutiny, and the challenges will never end. However, she urged operators and administrators to remember the crucial importance of their work and to take pride in their role as public servants: “You’re the good guys! Just keep up the good work!”
For photos, and a list of technical sessions offered at this year’s show, CLICK HERE.
Members are invited to suggest sessions for our 2020 Spring Member Meeting and Training Conference on May 21, or next year’s Tradeshow on October 22! Contact Continuing Education Committee chair Eileen Toomey at email@example.com.
2019 was a big year for GMWEA! Read all the news in our 2019 Fall/Winter Newsletter! CLICK HERE to read or download a PDF; .
October 3: Deer Island Tour Educates, Inspires
On October 3, 32 operators, engineers, and utility administrators from Vermont toured the Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, in Winthrop, Mass., considered one of the 20th century’s most challenging and successful environmental protection projects. The tour provided a rare professional development experience and earned 2 THCs for participants.
The outing was conceived by GMWEA board member Ryan Peebles, New England regional manager of Clearwaters, Inc., and jointly presented by GMWEA, Vermont Rural Water Association, and N.H. Water Pollution Control Association. VRWA wastewater specialists Wayne Graham and Elizabeth Walker kindly helped coordinate the group and took the terrific photos below.
Participants boarded the bus in South Burlington, Montpelier, W. Lebanon, and Manchester, and were fortunate to be guided on the tour by Charlie Taylor, who retired in 2017 after 25 years involved in the planning, design, construction, and operation of the massive, state-of-the-art plant.
It was a long day – the Burlington-area participants left at 6:45 a.m. and didn’t return until after 7 p.m. – but, as one participant put it, the experience was “mind-boggling”! To view photos of the plant and tour, click here to visit the blog post: http://gmweablog.org/2019/10/deer-island-in-photos/
January 16, 2020: Statehouse Meet & Greet
GMWEA board directors and members, joined by VRWA director Liz Royer and other allies, greeted scores of legislators at the Statehouse cafeteria in its Jan. 16 Statehouse Meet & Greet. The annual event is intended to put faces to the names both policymakers and water quality professionals encounter during the legislative session -- and informally trade position perspectives on important issues.
GMWEA's handouts included a "PFAS Overview" fact sheet, providing basic information about poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances, certain to be a major regulatory concern in 2020, as it was in 2019. Many legislators also went home with one of GMWEA's logo-decorated coffee mug, described by several as "just beautiful." GMWEA hopes they will make use of the "boots on the ground" perspective of GMWEA's members, and is grateful for the accessibility and informality of the People's House in this brave little state!
May 30: Water Quality Day 2019 Is Largest Ever!
On May 30, Vermonters visited a record number of participating facilities on Water Quality Day! Nineteen sites hosted tours and open houses throughout the state. Hundreds of people took advantage of the opportunity to see first-hand our amazing water quality infrastructure, and to meet the professionals who keep our water safe 24/7/365. Everyone who visited left with greater understanding of how our water and wastewater systems work.
For more about the event, and photos, see the Summer 2019 Newsletter or CLICK HERE.
Huge thanks are due to all the staff at the following facilities, for taking the time to welcome area residents -- and for the great work they do all year 'round:
May 23, 2019: Full House Attends GMWEA's Annual Spring Meeting & Training Conference
Over 180 water quality professionals attended this year's conference to view service and technology vendor exhibits, attend nine hours of technical trainings, view vendor exhibits, and participate in GMWEA's annual member business meeting. GMWEA also presented its annual service excellence awards to 10 outstanding individuals and facilities.
This year, we were especially pleased to present Kirsten King, executive director of New England Water Works Association, as our keynote speaker. King's address, "Silent Servants No More: Why Water and Wastewater Systems Need to Know How to Educate Customers on Why Water's Worth It," detailed the increasing need for water/wastewater operators and administrators to be skilled at public communications.
For complete information on the awards, along with photos of this year's winners, CLICK HERE to visit the Awards web-page. For information on this year's training sessions, CLICK HERE. For full articles, see our Summer 2019 Newsletter.
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