A Message From the 2020 PNCWA Technical Chair

Wow. What a wild year we’ve experienced already and we’re not even to summer yet.  So far 2020 has made us strive for flexibility as we adapt to a new normal at home and work.  For many, those places have merged to become one location.  We’ve seen unprecedented rates of unemployment too, as the impact of social distancing restrictions rippled throughout our communities.  This is truly an unprecedented time.  Never has it been more important to be there for each other.  We all need a support system, and the PNCWA community is one of those support systems. We are stronger when we are together (maintaining an appropriate physical distance, of course). 

As of May 1st, the 2020 PNCWA Annual Conference is still scheduled to take place in Spokane, WA this September. Ultimately, this year’s conference may look a little different from the previous years.  We are weighing options and maintaining flexibility as we take into consideration the evolving information incoming during this dynamic period. Ensuring the safety of our membership is our primary concern.  The most up to date information related to the Annual Conference can be found on the conference website.

PNCWA2020‘s theme “Bridging the Past to ReEnvison our Future” is as relevant as ever.  We have an opportunity to build a stronger future for our water environment in this uncertain time. This year, we work to connect the past and future by honoring the bridge that got us across. We’re pleased to offer over 160 sessions during this year’s Technical Program that focus on leveraging previous learning opportunities to prepare for future challenges.  

On Sunday, we are offering three pre-conference workshops.  This year, we’re pleased to offer courses that include Green Stormwater Facility Operation and Maintenance, Resource Recovery and Reuse in Food and Beverage Manufacturing, and Leadership Development.  

Tours this year will visit facilities to control CSO discharges in the City of Spokane and treatment plants utilizing advanced processes for nutrient control as required by the Spokane River Dissolved Oxygen Total Maximum Daily Load.  Locations of the tours include: a walking tour of the City of Spokane’s recent CSO tank construction, the Spokane County Regional Water Reclamation Facility, Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District’s Water Reclamation Facility, and the City of Coeur d’Alene’s Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility. Treatment plant tours include bussed transportation to and from the facility.  To maximize CEUs during travel time, where possible, we will include mobile presentations so that the educational opportunity is not missed. 

Building the technical program takes teamwork.  I want to thank our organizational volunteers on the Technical Program Committee for their commitment to our Conference by providing detailed abstract reviews.  We all lead busy lives and it’s this dedication to PNCWA that keeps our conference relevant. I’m looking forward to September!   

Be well everyone.

Eleanor Ott
Technical Program Chair
WA State Department of Ecology

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