Forum Focuses on Intensifying Technologies and Partnerships

October 27, 2015

Featured, WEF Resources & Efforts

Jeanette Brown, WEF past president and Manhattan College (Bronx, N.Y.) professor

Jeanette Brown, WEF past president

Jeanette Brown, WEF past president


Jeanette Brown served as president of the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) from 2010 to 2011. Currently, she teaches environmental engineering courses for both graduates and undergraduates at Manhattan College (Bronx, N.Y.). Prior to that, she was executive director of the Stamford (Conn.) Water Pollution Control Authority.

A WEF member since 1976 and WEF House of Delegates member from 2004 to 2007, she has served as member or chair of several WEF committees and as the facilitator for WEF’s HOD Strategic Planning Sessions and Governance. She currently is chair of WEF’s Operator Strategy Workgroup. Brown also has co-chaired and authored several WEF publications including Manuals of Practice and training courses. She has presented a series of WEF webcasts on wastewater operations, published numerous papers, and made many presentations at WEFTEC and other water sector events.

Brown is a licensed professional engineer, board certified environmental engineer by AAEES, diplomate through the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (Reston, Va.), Class 4 wastewater treatment plant operator, and Class 4 collection system operator. She has a master’s degree in environmental engineering from Manhattan College (Bronx, N.Y.).

Through the Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology (LIFT) program, the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) and Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF; Alexandria, Va.) held the Intensification of Resource Recovery (IR^2) forum at Manhattan College (Bronx, N.Y.), Aug. 9–11. In addition to support from WEF and WERF, the forum received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The program centered on improving the understanding of intensifying technologies and developing partnerships among technology providers, facility owners, consultants, and academics interested in those technologies. The forum encouraged formation of teams to move ahead with testing or implementing a new technology and/or forming research and development groups to accomplish a particular objective with an equipment vendor. It also helped provide a clear indication of the most critical research needs for a new WERF research program on intensification.

Partnerships help provide high quality information

When evaluating the forum, I look at it both as a past president of WEF and as a participant. As past president, I could not be prouder of an event. As usual, WEF staff did an outstanding job making arrangements and organizing the event. In addition to an excellent venue, participants gave both the location and accommodations very good reviews. WERF staff and the IR^2 steering committee did an excellent job preparing and reviewing the technology scans, selecting the technologies, and developing the program.

The most meaningful aspects of the event were seeing NSF appreciate the forum and seeing the partnership between WEF and WERF. These relationships and partnerships are very important for providing the highest quality technical information to members and the water sector.

Forum features high-quality content and fosters productive interactions

I was fortunate to be asked to be on the steering committee, which was made up of key water sector leaders. Forum co-chairs Robert Sharp from Manhattan College and Sudhir Murthy from DC Water (Washington, D.C.) and other steering committee members ensured that the program met high standards. The steering committee included Charles Bott from Hampton Roads Sanitation District (Virginia Beach, Va.), Kartik Chandran from Columbia University (New York), Jeff Guild from BlueTech Research (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), Jose Jimenez from Brown and Caldwell (Walnut Creek, Calif.), Chandler Johnson from World Water Works (Oklahoma City), Jeff Lape from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Amit Pramanik from WERF, Matt Ries from WEF, and Art Umble from MWH Global (Broomfield, Colo.).

Intensification of Resource Recovery (IRR) Forum attendees gather to hear an update on emerging shortcuts to nitrogen removal. Water Environment Federation (Alexandria, Va.) photo/Laura Herman.

Intensification of Resource Recovery (IRR) Forum attendees gather to hear an update on emerging shortcuts to nitrogen removal. Water Environment Federation (Alexandria, Va.) photo/Laura Herman.

From my perspective as a steering committee member, I am very proud of the quality and breadth of the program. The forum featured a variety of presentations that came from different parts of the world and spanned many aspects of wastewater treatment such as nutrient removal/recovery and solids processing and management.

IRR Forum attendees were able to browse posters to learn about intensifying technologies. WEF photo/Herman.

IRR Forum attendees were able to browse posters to learn about intensifying technologies. WEF photo/Herman.

The forum also included extensive periods of discussion on various technologies. This fostered very good interaction among presenters and participants. Each of the presenters described processes in detail; explained the level of development such as bench scale, pilot scale, and full scale; and discussed the needs for commercialization of their technologies. A series of breakout sessions also offered an opportunity to discuss how these technologies could be further developed and commercialized. A presentation at WEFTEC 2015 summarized the IR^2 Forum and recommendations.

Looking back provides insight into future forums

The 2015 IR^2 Forum was the second of its kind. The first, held in 2013, celebrated 100 years of activated sludge. The format for these forums is very different from other WEF events. Presentations are shorter, and there are much longer periods set aside for open discussion. Presentations start early in the morning, and some sessions are held after the evening meal. Both forums received great reviews.

Both as a past president and participant, I think these events are excellent. I am already looking forward to the next one in 2017.

Jeanette Brown, WEF past president

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