89 Main St., Suite 4, Montpelier, VT 05602
Above: GMWEA Governance Committee members and staff from the Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation.
Nov. 8, 2018: No Brew, No Water Event Brings Together Young Water Quality Professionals
On November 8, GMWEA hosted a variant of last year's successful Vermont Poo & Brew, co-sponsored by NEWEA and NEWWA and modeled after NEWEA's highly-popular 2015 Poo & Brew. While previous events featured tours of wastewater facilities, this one brought a capacity group of 40 young professionals to Champlain Water District's Water Treatment Facility for a glimpse of the drinking water side of the field. Participants then went to Switchback Brewery, one of Vermont's premier artisinal beer-makers, for a tour of their plant and samples of their brews.
The yearly event -- whether focused on water or poo -- is intended to encourage young professionals in the field to meet, network, learn about each other's technologies and processes, and -- importantly -- have fun as they do their part to "support the Vermont microbrew industry." Be sure to check these pages in the coming months for information about the 2018 event!
August 20, 2017: GMWEA Co-sponsors Clean Water Week
Governor Phil Scott has proclaimed August 20 – 26 as Clean Water Week -- a time to celebrate Vermont’s
natural waters and the businesses, organizations, and communities working to protect them. GMWEA and
dozens of other Vermont organizations will be offering educational (and fun) experiences throughout the
state. Learn more at: dec.vermont.gov/watershed/cwi/clean-water-week
GMWEA is helping to coordinate several open houses at water, wastewater, and stormwater facilities. Tours
are free, fun, and a great way to learn more about the importance of water quality management to Vermont’s
natural waters and way of life.
Jan. 31, 2017: GMWEA - ANR Meetings Promote Connectivity, Synergy
GMWEA’s Government Affairs Committee held its second quarterly meeting with staff from Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources water quality divisions.
Around 22 stakeholders attended the January 31, 2017 meeting, led by Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Emily Boedecker. Included were staff from the DEC’s water, wastewater, stormwater, and wetlands divisions, and representatives from around the state – municipal Department of Public Works heads, along with water/wastewater utility operators, and others engaged in water quality management.
Discussion covered a lot of ground: Vermont Clean Water Act funding, the progress of the biosolids working group, the status of H-211, the NPDES permits recently appealed by Conservation Law Foundation, and the state’s thoughts on PFOAs in light of sampling results. Considering water, the group discussed H-219 -- a bill put forward to fund a study on microplastics in drinking water -- then considered a number of rule updates. Stormwater conversation focused on the three-acre permits, MS4 permits, and the Municipal Roads General Permit.
These meetings make sure stakeholders hear each other’s concerns and share crucial information; they also serve as brainstorming sessions, in which good ideas surface and potential solutions to problems are aired. Finally, they foster a sense of community among people working across sectors in water-related fields. Ultimately, the result will be smarter water policy, and more collaborative, effective water quality policy implementation.
March 24, 2018: GMWEA Awards Scholarships at 2018 Vermont STEM Fair
On Saturday, March 24, GMWEA sent a panel of seven special judges to the annual Vermont Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Fair. Our goal was to seek out the best student research projects of the year and encourage K-12 inquiry into water quality science by giving scholarship awards to the most promising investigators.
Hosted each year by Norwich University, the show features exhibits by about 200 middle school and high school students from throughout the state, all of them winners of their schools’ science (and tech, engineering, and math) project competitions.
Our awards were based on the relevance of the subject matter to water quality, the merit of research, quality of exhibit, and enthusiasm for and commitment to the field. Congratulations to our winners and to the teachers who worked with them to produce such excellent projects and results!
Sunthoshini Premsankar impressed us with “Neutralization of Pharmaceutical Pollution in Lake Champlain.” She tackled this difficult issue with an experiment on the effect of acetaminophen on duckweed, testing alternate absorbents and measuring results with chromatography. Sunthoshini, a 9th-grader at Champlain Valley Union H.S., received our $150 scholarship prize.
Christina Gregory, also won a $150 scholarship prize for “Pond Regulation.” This complex project dealt with the integrity of a local pond not only in terms of ecosystemic viability, but in terms of the regulatory environment that does, or should, control human impacts on our surface waters. Christina is in 11th grade at Windsor schools.
James Stephens, a 10th grader at Northfield High School, won a $100 scholarship for “The Efficacy of Different Water Purification Methods.” James investigated the relative merits of ceramic filters, carbon filters, boiling, and distillation, focusing on conductivity, pH, and turbidity, and presented persuasive research methodology and a fine display.
Brooke Rouse looked for a different approach to water filtration: She compared coagulants derived from (plant-derived) moringa oleifera seed and aluminum sulfate in their ability to affect water’s turbidity and pH. Brooke, in 7th grade at Milton Middle School and a student of Rob Decicco, won a $50 prize.
Philip Skidd’s exhibit “Don’t Get Clammy Over River Pollution,” also won a $50 prize. His research explored the potential for freshwater clams to absorb nitrates, ammonia, and phosphate, thereby reducing saturation levels in natural waters. Philip is in 7th grade at Mater Christi School in Burlington.
Nov. 9, 2018: Over 400 Attend GMWEA's Fall Trade Show and Technical Training!
On November 9, hundreds of water/wastewater/stormwater operators, water quality technology and service providers, and DPW administrators from throughout New England converged on Burlington's Sheraton Conference Center for GMWEA's largest annual event. The day-long conference featured 100 displays by vendors, six technical training sessions, a delicious lunch, and GMWEA's traditional raffle.
GMWEA president Rick Kenney kicked off the lunchtime program with thanks to the attendees and an invitation to take an active role in the association. The association's executive director, Daniel Hecht, spoke about the challenges facing water quality professionals in times of changing budgets, technologies, and weather patterns, and echoed Rick Kenney in urging attendees to make use of GMWEA's collective expertise and support. NEWEA vice president Ray Vermette and NEWWA president Chris Hodgson provided news of their organizations' activities.
Many thanks are due to all who attended, our exhibitors, our intrepid photographer Charlie Taylor (see photos below), GMWEA assistant/VLCT liaison Lisa Goodell, and event sponsors Hoyle, Tanner & Associates.
Above, left to right: Sunthoshini Premsankar, Christina Gregory, James Stephens, Brooke Rouse, Philip Skidd.