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3 Lessons on Resilient Sewer Infrastructure: A WEFTEC 2019 Sneak Peek

Jacobs’ water professionals are honored to share our expertise in WEF’s Words on Water podcast, 5 workshops and more than 30 sessions this year at WEFTEC.

Jacobs is participating in the 92nd Annual Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC 2019) in Chicago, Illinois, at McCormick Place, being held September 23-25. The Water Environment Federation (WEF) is anticipating participation of more than 22,000 attendees from more than 70 countries, which means ample opportunities to network, share best practices and new industry knowledge, as well as learn from one another. Numerous Jacobs innovators will be presenting in workshops and technical sessions.

Download a full list of Jacobs’ participation and presentations at WEFTEC 2019

As the frequency and severity of weather events intensify, and populations grow, the potential impact on governments, cities and businesses around the world is constantly increasing. This emerging threat is further amplified by aging infrastructure, adding to the risks to people, the environment and the social cohesion of cities around the world.

Planning for these near-term challenges, together with preparedness to withstand future events, presents an urgent need for enhanced infrastructure systems globally, especially in coastal locations where impacts of a variating climate can be particularly challenging, and catastrophic.

“Ask a utility manager running a coastal utility and they will talk about wading through water to get to work on a dry day,” quips Jacobs Global Conveyance and Storage Solutions Director Susan Moisio. “Coastal communities are already grappling with unique resiliency challenges from rising seas, climate variability, aging infrastructure and changes to data collection techniques and toolsets.”

But how will a continually changing, and uncertain future impact sewer systems in these vulnerable communities?

That depends on our ability to understand how additional stormwater and groundwater is already affecting our systems, what future impacts will be and our ability to adapt to these changing conditions, says Susan.

In other words, we need to be ready to operationalize these impacts and during the Solutions for Coastal City Resiliency session at WEFTEC 2019, Susan will explore how three Jacobs-supported coastal communities are doing just that and also provide key takeaways from each city:

  1. Undertaking critical asset analysis. Following impacts from hurricanes Matthew and Irma, Jacksonville, Florida engaged Jacobs on a resiliency program to address the impacts of climate change, river surge and inflow/infiltration in its sanitary sewer system.

An evaluation is underway now to identify key assets including sanitary sewer pump stations that must be able to operate during extreme weather – including understanding how the system operates in normal weather and how it should be operated during extreme weather. During extreme weather events, it may not be feasible to keep all the system up and running and it may not be cost effective to harden the entire system. Understanding your assets is crucial for coastal communities, especially when facing extreme wet-weather.

  1. Considering current system conditions. The Miami-Dade sanitary sewer system in Florida is another coastal city facing impacts to its sewer system. The city is looking to the future to plan and design for the impacts of storm surge, sea level rise on the groundwater table and climate change on the rainfall as part of their Ocean Outfall Program, for which Jacobs serves as program manager. As part of the effort, the team evaluated the changes in peak and average flow from these climate-related impacts to guide future planning.

Understanding the current workings of the sanitary sewer system plays a critical role in projecting future impacts of climate change on rainfall and sea level rise on groundwater infiltration. These evaluations can help the utility either plan flows or develop a robust condition assessment plan to protect the sanitary sewer system from additional impacts.

  1. Leveraging data-based decisions. Mobile, Alabama on the U.S. Gulf Coast has been experiencing more rainfall, more inflow and infiltration and more overflows. Mobile has taken an aggressive approach in their sanitary sewer system and developed a comprehensive sanitary sewer evaluation system approach to identifying, prioritizing and rehabilitating key portions of their system.

This focused field inspection system coupled with a robust computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) provides the data and process needed to prioritize repairs in the sanitary sewer system. This approach can help utilities ensure they’re making the most cost-effective repairs and only considering those that truly impact the resiliency of their sewer system.

Joining Susan during the Solutions for Coastal City Resiliency session, Jacobs’ William McMillin will present an integrated approach to combined sewer overflow (CSO) control planning below sea level. Jacobs’ Mike Stickley will share more about the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System during the Flow Analysis Methods to Solve Collection System Flow Problems: Rainfall, RDII, Climate Change and Hydraulics session. Additionally, Susan will be a guest on the Words on Water Podcast in Chicago.

Want more on how bold, integrated solutions are influencing a more resilient future in cities around the world?

Join our water professionals in Chicago for WEFTEC 2019 on September 23-25, 2019 and let us show you how we’re managing water to explore new possibilities for tomorrow. Jacobs is honored to share our expertise in WEF’s Words on Water podcast, five workshops and more than 30 sessions this year – highlights include: 

  • On September 23, Jacobs’ Susan Moisio is moderating the Plenary Session on Peak Flow Management: Where Do We Stand? Jacobs’ William McMillin and John Siczka will also participate.
  • On September 23, Jacobs’ Scott Cowden will join the Planning, Evaluation, Design, and Sustainability: Odor Control Has It All! session to present “Innovative Thinking Plus Powerful Tools Guide Odor Control Study Solutions.”
  • On September 24, Jacobs’ Amanda Hon will present “The Future is Live: Bringing Forecast Modelling to the London Tideway Tunnels System” at the DATA: Key to Optimizing Planning and Decision Making session.
  • During the September 24 session, Sewer Rehabilitation and Construction, Jacobs’ Mayra Jetten will share “Lessons Learned During Rehabilitation of the North Mimico STS and South Mimico STS, Toronto, ON.”
  • At the September 24 session on Digestion, Jacobs’ David Parry will share “Insights from Operating a Three- Staged Thermophilic Anaerobic Digestion Facility.”
  • On September 25, Jacobs’ Joss Plant will talk “Going with the Flow: Streamlined Design Modelling Integration and International Collaboration for Copenhagen Stormwater Conveyance Tunnel Design” during the session on Advanced Hydraulics: How to Solve the Really Tough Problems in Your Collection System.
  • During the September 25 session, We Don’t Need No Stinking Bubbles! Advancements in MABR Technologies, Jacobs’ Tim Constantine will discuss “Going Bubbleless: Design and Start-Up of the Full-Scale MABR Demonstration at the Ejby Molle WRRF.” Can’t be in Chicago this year? You can read about the Ejby Molle water resource recovery facility on!

WEFTEC is the largest conference of its kind in North America and offers water quality professionals from around the world with the best water quality education and training available today. 

“As a longtime sponsor of WEFTEC, over the years we’ve watched this event transform from a small gathering of approximately 500 water professionals talking about local projects and solutions to one of the biggest water events of the year, attracting participation from around the world and more than 20,000 attendees,” says Jacobs Global Wastewater Solutions Director Julian Sandino. “During the last four decades, we’ve built lasting relationships at WEFTEC and we look forward to the gathering to showcase many of the phenomenal projects we’re working on alongside our clients.”

Julian will be playing in this year’s annual Jammin’4Water – an “open mic” music event aimed at funding water charities – on September 21.

WEFTEC also serves as a venue for acknowledging and celebrating the many contributions water professionals and projects have made to the industry and the communities where we live, work and play. Jacobs’ Utility Privatization Project at Fort Campbell, Kentucky will be honored with the WEF Member Association Safety Award in recognition of the team’s 4,177 days without a recordable incident. Our client, the City of Fayetteville Water Resource Recovery facility in Arkansas, will also receive national recognition as a Utility of the Future Today for the fourth consecutive year.

Fayetteville is one of 43 water utilities that will be recognized as part of the Utility of the Future Today program promotes actions that build on the foundation of excellent management and help small, medium and large water sector utilities transform their operations over time.

Jacobs is a long-time sponsor of the annual Operations Challenge at WEFTEC. Ops Challenge allows the top wastewater collection and treatment personnel to display their skills in collection systems, laboratory, process control, maintenance and safety. Each category is designed to test the diverse skills required for the operation and maintenance of wastewater treatment facilities, their collection systems and laboratories. This year’s challenge will take place September 23-24.

Download a full list of Jacobs’ participation and presentations at WEFTEC 2019

And if you’re interested in learning more about how Jacobs transforms intangible ideas into intelligent solutions for a more connected, sustainable world, visit

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