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PA-AWWA and PWEA Young Professional’s Hold First Joint Technical Seminar in Philadelphia

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PA-AWWA and PWEA Young Professional’s Hold First Joint Technical Seminar in Philadelphia

 By: Suzanne Ciavola, PA-AWWA YP Committee Chair and Ben Deatrich, PWEA YP Committee Member

This June, the Young Professional (YP) Committees of PA-AWWA and PWEA jointly sponsored a technical seminar and networking event in Center City Philadelphia.  The event drew a dynamic group of over 40 professionals and students to the Field House Sports & Beer Hall.  Two topics were presented, each targeting a subject area representative of each of the two host organizations.  The first presentation covered a topic on combined sewer collection systems and was followed by a presentation focusing on drinking water distribution monitoring technologies.

The topic for the combined sewer collection systems portion of the program was the design and construction of the Manayunk Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Detention Facility, presented by Mark Bottin, P.E. of Hazen and Sawyer.  The project, as part of the Philadelphia Water Department’s CSO long term control plan, created a 3.75 million gallon offline detention basin on the southern end of Venice Island, in the Manayunk neighborhood of Northwest Philadelphia.

As Mr. Bottin explained, the CSO Detention Facility was sized to be able to eliminate an existing CSO with the aid of hydrologic modeling and historic rainfall data.  The large-scale of the project necessitated a broader scope requiring continued outreach and stakeholder participation throughout the design process.  Based on client and community feedback, the final project incorporated a number of other improvements including a performing arts center, playground facilities, a parking lot for local businesses and green stormwater control measures.  The presentation concluded with a series of construction photos illustrating how the 400-foot long, 75-feet wide underground basin was installed below ground and subsequently buried to become effectively invisible at the site today.

The second presentation, focusing on the topic of drinking water distribution monitoring technologies, was the Philadelphia Water Department’s Drinking Water Surveillance and Response System, presented by Timothy Schurmann of the Philadelphia Water Department’s Bureau of Laboratory Services.  The extensive system, which was designed to monitor the entire Philadelphia distribution network, was funded by a multi-year EPA grant to improve contaminant detection and monitoring.  The system employs state of the art monitoring technologies, including water quality sensors, event detection software, and computer and data integration systems.  More robust communication systems allows data to be transmitted wirelessly through cellular towers, and allows for the ability of “backfilling” data to recover data that was not received due to a transmission outage or server outage.

A networking happy hour with appetizers sponsored by both associations followed the technical presentations. Having such a strong attendance, full of both young and experienced professionals, gave everyone a great opportunity to mingle and meet a variety of water professionals. The PA-AWWA/PWEA YP Committees hope to build upon the success of this event with future events throughout the state that will both enrich existing members’ experiences and increase membership and participation.

If you are interested in attending a future YP Committee event, have an idea for a future event or would like to assist in planning a future event please contact the following committee chairs.

PA-AWWA and PWEA YP Contact info:

PA-AWWA YP Committee Chair and Vice Chair
Suzanne Ciavola

Ralph R. Wawrzyniakowski
PWEA YP Committee Co-Chairs
Steven Kestel

Chase Kelch

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