All sessions are subject to change. Attendees must register for each session they would like to attend. To register and view the full list, click here. 

*All sessions are in Central District Time*

Monday, September 14

9:20-10:20 AM 

Hiring for Diversity and Inclusion in Mind

Speaker: Sapna Mulki – Water Savvy Solutions

With a workforce of about 1.7 million, almost a third of all water professionals will be eligible for retirement in the next 10 years. While we are racing against the clock in our industry to fill these soon-to-be vacant spots we are also trying to do so by hiring a workforce that is representative of the world we live in today. Hiring for diversity gives our organizations a competitive advantage as it increases productivity and engagement, increases quality of customer service, and improves workplace retention. With the right intentions and patience, we can hire the right people for the right job while fulfilling our goals for diversity. In this presentation, we discuss some of the simple steps we can take in the recruiting process – crafting job descriptions to conducting interviews – to ensure that we are not only checking the boxes but we are doing so thoughtfully.9:20-

10:30-11:30 AM

Communicating Major Water Quality Concerns to the Press and the Public:  How to Explain Lead Exceedances and PFAS Discoveries

Speaker: Mike McGill – WaterPIO

An exceedance of a regulatory level can permanently harm a utility’s reputation. For the customer, hearing “lead” is in their water immediately connects a utility with what happened in Flint, Michigan. The presentation will detail the successful communications strategies that led to thoughtful, reasoned reactions to exceedances from the press and public. It will also address the revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule and PFAS that will dramatically impact how utilities must communicate about future exceedances.

12:00-1:00 PM

How to Handle Wastewater Crisis Communications in The Instant Information Age

Speaker: Mike McGill – WaterPIO

The presentation will walk attendees through the creation and implementation of a crisis communications plan for wastewater events and discuss how to handle all of the moving parts in the chaotic first moments when an incident happens. WaterPIO will show the tactics used to help diffuse the initial negative reaction and turn the actions of the utility into a positive, not only by showcasing the response but by continuing to provide information after the immediate crisis has passed. Utilities can actually IMPROVE their standing with the public after a major SSO by properly communicating with the public.


1:30-2:30 PM

Residential Ultrasonic Meters: The 7 Key Factors

Speaker: Dan Devane — Zenner USA

This session will focus on the ultrasonic meter technology, why all meters are not the same, and what 7 key factors should be looked at before deciding.

3:00-4:00 PM

Mapping Made Easy with GIS and GPS

Speaker: Ben Segal & Derek Lorbecki – ESRI

This presentation will begin with a discussion about paper maps, manual workflows, and system of record. It will then introduce ArcGIS and explain how it supports field workflows, enabling easy to use mobile applications. Followed by how highly accurate location data can be collected using GPS receivers that integrate with the mobile applications. Each application will be introduced and shown in a short demonstration. This will be followed by a discussion about creating an operational view of the system and managing holistically.

4:30-5:30 PM

State of Technology: Cleaning and Coating UAV Systems

Speaker: Robert Dahlstrom – APPELLIX

Cleaning, coating, and the nondestructive testing (NDT) of corrosion-susceptible surfaces requires extensive manual labor, often at vertical heights that create a dangerous occupational environment. Drones, also known as unmanned aerial systems (UAS), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or small unmanned aerial vehicles (sUAV) can be leveraged to perform some of these tasks, including cleaning and coating, while keeping workers safely on the ground. Drone capabilities have significantly evolved over the past decade, and it is expected that the ubiquity of such systems will continue to increase in the years to come. While no coating or cleaning drone is commercially available at the time of this publication, one company has an existing prototype currently being developed for this application. This prototype is a custom-manufactured drone with a tether to the aircraft from the ground that delivers power and cleaning or coating material. An on-board computer manages flight navigation along with intelligent spraying. While the utilization of this new technology faces many challenges, it is important to recognize the potential and projected growth of such systems. An introduction to the current state of coating and cleaning drones will be discussed, along with limitations and benefits the system can provide to the coatings industry.


Tuesday, September 15

8:00-9:00 AM

Improving Revenue Collections for Utilities

Speaker: Gary Sanders – Logics, an Edmunds GovTech Company

Utilities continually find themselves under pressure to control rate increases. One way to limit potential rate increases is to implement policies to improve collection rates and limit bad debt. In this session, participants will learn how policies and procedures at various stages of the customer cycle – application for service, billing, delinquent processing, and final bills – can impact collections. They will learn what policies and procedures other utilities have implemented to improve collection rates and reduce bad debt and write-offs.

9:30-10:30 AM


Speaker: Heather Jennings – Probiotic Solutions

Various forms of nitrogen that contribute to the deterioration of the water resources and the environment. Nitrification and denitrification are essential for the biological removal of nitrogen in wastewater systems. This presentation will cover the Nitrification/Denitrification cycle critical for nitrogen removal in wastewater systems. Key operational conditions for wastewater system will also be covered. You will become familiar with key bacteria doing all the work in your activated sludge or lagoon systems. We will also review trouble shooting procedures to find where inefficiencies and issues are impacting the Nitrification/Denitrification process.

11:00 AM-12:00PM

Determination of the Effectiveness of Granular Activated Carbon for the Removal of PFAS Precursor Compounds

Speaker: Casey Theys – Calgon Carbon Corporation

The applicability of different types of granular activated carbon (GAC) for the removal of legacy perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) of varying chain lengths from water has by now been well explored. However, as the public’s awareness of the presence of so-called precursor compounds grows (i.e. poly- and perfluorinated compounds of varying length and structure that can decompose into legacy PFAS), and available analytical techniques improve, there is an increasing interest in the applicability of GAC to remove these precursor compounds. With the goal of identifying the characteristics that control the selectivity of GACs toward precursor compounds, five types of GAC were examined via rapid small-scale column tests (RSSCTs) for the removal of a suite of several of the most commonly reported PFAS precursor compounds, as well as PFOA and PFOS from ground water. Pertinent characteristics of these GACs, such as activity level and pore volume distribution, were measured and then compared statistically to their performance in the RSSCTs. For utilities and industries facing the need to treat for PFAS precursor compounds, knowledge of the relative importance of these GAC characteristics can be used to guide GAC selection and maximize treatment performance. 

12:30-1:30 PM

Effective and Efficient Coordination of American Iron and Steel Domestic Procurement Requirements for Federal Funding Programs at the USDA and EPA

Speaker: Joseph Dorava – USDA Rural Development & Kirsten Anderer – U.S. EPA

The session will include example projects where USDA and USEPA inter-agency cooperation was paramount and compliance with AIS requirements was adequately documented. The session will include an informal discussion to help answer attendee questions and explain specific session topics. The goals of this session are 1) to help communities with infrastructure needs find funding assistance, and 2) to help communities, state staff, utility system personnel, consulting engineers, construction contractors, suppliers/distributors, and manufacturers involved with SRF and USDA infrastructure projects better understand and more easily comply with the AIS requirements.

2:00-3:00 PM

Practice of High Performing Boards

Speaker: Rich Frazier – VisionConnect Consulting

For boards eager to take their leadership to the next level of performance. This session is appropriate for boards that understand governance basics and want to accelerate their performance for mission impact.

3:30-4:30 PM

Grassroots Action: Power of Association

Speaker: Bill Simpson, Michael Preston, Keith Heard — NRWA

The NRWA DC Staff will give an update on legislative affairs and our grassroots effort in Washington.

Wednesday, September 16

8:00-9:00 AM

Strategic Board Recruitment and Development – Part 1

Speaker: Rich Frazier – VisionConnect Consulting

One of the most important responsibilities of a board is to ensure that it continuously adds qualified new members to its roster and keeps them engaged. This workshop guides participants through a process that focuses on the different steps needed to build an effective board and avoid the common ups and downs of building and maintaining a diverse, inclusive and enthusiastic board.

9:30-10:30 AM

Strategic Board Recruitment and Development – Part 2

Speaker: Rich Frazier – VisionConnect Consulting

One of the most important responsibilities of a board is to ensure that it continuously adds qualified new members to its roster and keeps them engaged. This workshop guides participants through a process that focuses on the different steps needed to build an effective board and avoid the common ups and downs of building and maintaining a diverse, inclusive and enthusiastic board.

11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Enhancement of Glass-Fused-To-Steel Technology in Water and Wastewater Applications

Speaker: Monica Ebert – CST Industries, Inc. 

This presentation will explain why titanium dioxide rich glass is the water and liquid storage technology leader for municipal and industrial applications. This premium technology increases the advantages of previous glass technologies and provides new process efficiencies. The presentation will demonstrate how glass combines superior chemical resistance and outstanding physical properties with process-optimized, ultra-fine bubble structure for durability and flexibility.

Backed by 127+ years of experience, CST is a global leader in the design and manufacture of Aquastore® storage solutions including, tanks, reservoirs, standpipes and composite elevated tanks. Aquastore’s Vitrium™ TiO2 Technology provides the best glass-fused-to-steel/enamel coating available and is an ultra-low maintenance, NSF-approved coating that never needs painting. Turnkey installation by our world-class dealer network provides a local single-point of contact for the life of your tank. Aquastore’s modular construction ensures a safer and faster installation with less environmental impact. With over 100,000 applications installed worldwide, we can show you why Aquastore tanks have the lowest lifecycle cost. Aquastore® tanks meet all standard design codes such as AWWA D103, ANSI/NSF Standard 61, AISC, FM codes and NFPA Standard 22.

12:30-1:30 PM

Water Training, Transformed

Speaker: Shannan Walton — NRWA 

The National Rural Water Association and State Rural Water Affiliates are leading the water industry by attracting, training and retaining the next generation workforce with Registered Apprenticeship, Pre-Apprenticeship, Youth Outreach, and Veteran, women, and minority engagement opportunities. This session will take a look at where we started, where we are today, and what the future holds, as well as showcasing best practices, highlight case studies and identify innovative solutions to enhance the water industry’s modern, systematic apprenticeship and workforce development models.

2:00-3:00 PM

Water & Wastewater Safety

Speaker: John Schwartz — USABlueBook

Whether it is biological, chemical, or physical, the water and wastewater profession has more hazards than most professions. This class covers those potential hazards, confined spaces, mitigating hazards, personal protection equipment, and more making your workplace a safer place to be.

3:30-4:30 PM

Rural and Municipal Water Quality: Inside and Out

Speaker: Don Green – National Stormwater Center

After many years of EPA and the States addressing point source pollution, mostly industrial, pollution in 1990 the first Municipal Separate Stormwater Sewer System (MS4) permits went out to municipalities across the US. As a result of these new regulations, there was a tremendous up-hill learning curve. The first MS4 ‘Phase I’ permits covered small areas, compatibly speaking, so in 2003 EPA issued the second level – Phase II – to smaller municipalities.
The MS4 permit covers six minimum control measures:
1) Public Education
2) Public Participation
3) IDDE: Illicit Discharge
4) Construction Activities
5) Post Construction
6) Pollution Prevention/Goodhouse Keeping: how you maintain your own house

Thursday, September 17

8:00-9:00 AM

Building Water Resilience in Your Community 

Speaker: Karen Edwards-Lindsey – U.S. EPA

During this session, USEPA’s Water Security Division will discuss the American Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) which requires each community water system serving a population of greater than 3,300 persons to assess the risks to, and resilience of, its system. The participants will be informed of the tools and resources to assist utilities with developing their Risk and Resilience Assessment and Emergency Response Plan. A demonstration will be conducted on how to certify completion of each by the applicable deadlines. In addition, the participant will be introduced to the Community-Based Water Resiliency (CBWR) guide and training. The CBWR guide and training help water and wastewater utilities, and the communities they serve, prepare for water service interruptions. Finally, EPA will share how the CBWR guide, hosting a workshop, or participating in a CBWR training can help build resilience in the communities of session attendees.

9:30-10:30 AM

Overcome Revenue Shortfalls, Protect Consumers and Improve Customer Satisfaction

Speaker: Connie Stevens, Matt Holmes, Bob Freudenthal, Tony Howard

Aging water infrastructure is wasting over 2 trillion gallons per year. In these challenging financial times, utilities face many costly burdens including bad debt expenses, customer water leaks, infrastructure repair concerns, and other challenges that impact both the financial health and customer satisfaction of the utility. For all of these reasons, utilities have begun to explore public private partnership solutions to address these financial health and customer satisfaction issues.

Please join us for a free roundtable discussion to hear perspectives from a panel of professionals on how to address these challenges. 

11:00 AM-12:00 PM

Building Rural America

Speaker: Edna Primrose — USDA Rural Development 

Edna Primrose will give an update of the USDA Rural Development Office of Water Programs. 

12:30-1:30 PM

EPA Regulatory Update

Speaker: Andrew Sawyer, Jennifer McClain — U.S. EPA

2:00-3:00 PM

Dollars and Sense: Recommended Installation and Application Techniques for Waterworks Service Material

Speaker: Dwayne Jones, Todd Keffaber, Tim Babb — Ford Meter Box

This session will be presented by Ford Meter Box employees and will highlight the recommended practices of installing and applying new technology and techniques in service material for water systems.

3:30-4:30 PM

Regulatory Issues Facing Rural America

Speaker: Mike Keegan, Paul Fulgham & other Committee Members

The NRWA Regulatory Committee will give a roundtable discussion over their report for this year.