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Alberta Water Week conference brings operators together

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Alberta Environment & Parks outlining the new Lead Guidance Document at the AWWOA Water Week Conference.

By Jenna Horning

For three days in November, water and wastewater professionals from across Alberta gathered at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in West Edmonton to learn about new trends and technologies within the water industry.

The Alberta Water and Wastewater Operators Association’s 2nd Annual Water Week Conference was held on November 13-15, 2019. It serves as an opportunity for operators to stay informed about current practices within the province while also engaging with fellow operators, government officials, consultants and suppliers.

Over 200 delegates and 67 suppliers participated in this year’s conference. Attendees came from major city centres including Edmonton and Red Deer, to smaller towns and villages, including the Town of Provost and the Village of Heisler.

Conference topics

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Pre-conference workshops kicked off the week on Wednesday morning with topics ranging from operator training to source water protection and pipe cleaning. All three were well attended, with the Science of Pipe Cleaning, presented by Ken Billingham of KEG Technologies Inc., as the most popular.

The conference opened with a morning session delivered by John Vann Ham, of Alberta Innovates, on the Water Innovation Program. He focused specifically on projects of interest to Alberta’s water and wastewater operators.

One of the most well-attended sessions of the week was a presentation from Alberta Environment and Parks on the Lead Guidance Document. After a change from Health Canada, the maximum acceptable concentration (MAC) for lead was lowered and the point of compliance for lead was changed to the customer’s tap. The presentation discussed how these changes would affect water facility owners and operators. Delegates were also given the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the session.

Technical sessions ran on Wednesday and Thursday, with topics including industrial source control, water sampling, media filtration and water distribution systems.

A small sample of sessions included:
• EPCOR’s Industrial Source Control Program – Dave Johnston & Brandy McKay, EPCOR Water Services Inc.
• Operations Problem Solving: Experiences and Lessons Learned – Harry Chan, Capital H20 Systems and Abu Chowdhury, Lac La Biche County
• On-Site Rapid Testing of Water Samples for E. Coli and Total Coliform – Amirreza Sohrabi, Roshan Water Solutions

Tradeshow

The tradeshow took place on Thursday morning and afternoon where delegates were able to interact with exhibitors. Prizes were also awarded to participants of a tradeshow game. Richard Hammond from EPCOR was the winner of the grand prize: a one-night stay at the Double Tree and dinner theatre tickets courtesy of the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel.

AWWOA conference delegates networking
Conference delegates networking at the AWWOA Water Week tradeshow.

The week concluded on Friday morning with another well-attended session, the Value of Source Water – Alberta Perspectives.

Presenters included:
• Phil Boehme, Alberta Environment & Parks
• Mike Christensen, EPCOR
• Harpreet Sandhu, The City of Calgary
• Adam Norris, Mighty Peace Watershed Alliance
• Leah Kongsrude, North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance

Networking events & conference sponsors

A special thank you to the sponsors. The 2nd Annual Water Week Conference would not have been possible without their support:

  • Young Professionals Pub Night: Algae Control Canada
  • Casino Night: Biomaxx Environmental
  • Principal Partner: AEC Industrial Solutions Ltd.
  • Lunch & Coffee Break Sponsor: EPCOR

The AWWOA will be hosting the 45th Annual Operators Seminar in Banff, AB on March 9-13, 2020. The 3rd Annual Water Week Conference will be held November 18-20, 2020.

About the AWWOA

The Alberta Water & Wastewater Operators Association (AWWOA) is a member-run source for expert information and training, based in Edmonton, Alberta, that provides the essentials in education, networking, promotion and the ongoing support that operators need to supply Alberta communities with safe drinking water and a protected environment.

Jenna Horning is with the Alberta Water & Wastewater Operators Association.

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