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AWWA Water Quality Technology Conference

ASDWA staff attended the recent AWWA Water Quality Technology Conference (WQTC) in Indianapolis.  The conference covered many current and emerging technical issues in drinking water including lead, cyanotoxins, premise plumbing water quality, distribution systems, disinfection by products and water reuse.  There were also technical sessions on analytical methods and treatment processes as well as an exhibit hall where attendees could see the latest technology demonstrated.
Some significant “learnings” from the conference either reinforced existing knowledge or provided new information.

  • Diving into the technical details confirmed that premise plumbing is a very complicated biological system and maintaining water quality takes comprehensive planning and constant attention to monitoring and treatment.
  • There are coating and lining options for lead service lines that have been used in other countries and could be considered here to avoid some of the ownership and cost challenges to lead service line replacement.
  • There are a variety of perfluorinated compounds (PFOS, PFOA, etc.) that are used in this country and as the more commonly used ones come under scrutiny, they are replaced by related compounds which require different treatment methods and have less understood health effects.
  • There is no perfect analytical method yet for all the cyanotoxins. An optimal approach to cyanotoxin monitoring will still need to involve different methods for different purposes.

One paper, with ASDWA coauthors, shared information gathered by AWOP states on the integrity of data that is used for making decisions at water systems.  The presentation challenged utilities, equipment manufacturers and other states to closely examine all aspects of measurement, transmittal and reporting of operational and compliance data to make sure decisions are supported by the highest quality data possible.
Relevant exhibitors and speakers from WQTC may be asked to reprise their presentations and demonstrations at future ASDWA meetings.