The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that the St. Tammany Parish, La., government received a...
As the President of the not-for-profit Water Environment Federation (WEF), Larry Jaworski of Chicago-based Greeley & Hansen has spent his first 120 days in office managing a major change in WEF governance and representing WEF’s views on the EPA’s proposed changes regarding blending alternatives for wastewater flows.
Jaworski is a principal in the Washington, D.C. office of Chicago-based Greeley & Hansen LLC.
"The Water Environment Federation wants to inform the public that the EPA is simply establishing a policy to formalize a practice (blending) that has been an accepted, environmentally beneficial practice for decades," explains Jaworski, a 30-year member of WEF.
Jaworski says that WEF is also working to provide engineers across the country with the latest information on the EPA policy shift, and recently hosted an informative two-hour webcast that included leaders from various wastewater agencies.
In addition to the blending issue, Jaworski said a major issue WEF receives feedback on is how the wastewater industry is maintaining the infrastructure despite the financial constraints placed on communities. Pipes and plants are getting older and the federal government is not subsidizing upgrade projects the way they were in the early ‘70s.
"One of my goals as WEF president is to develop a framework for a serious dialogue on infrastructure funding and to encourage engineers to discard their reticence and talk about what we do and why it’s important," said Jaworski. "We can do anything – address any issue – if the funding is there. It’s a case of we as a nation, and especially local communities, deciding that it’s a priority."
Jaworski began his role as President of WEF in October 2003. Since then, he has led the 36,000-member organization through one of the most significant governance changes in the Federation’s history. Formerly governed by a 117-member Board of Directors, the affairs of the Federation, with a $20 million per year budget, will be formally managed by the 15-member Board of Trustees. This change will enable the Federation to respond more quickly to member needs, decreasing the lag time between planning and action.
The biggest challenge has been to make sure we get input from our constituents," said Jaworski. "E-mail and cell phones are a big help in gathering that information."
Another goal for Jaworski is to maintain membership in the Federation, a continuing struggle given current demographics.
"We are experiencing a great wave of retirements, which we expect to continue to put a strain on our organization," said Jaworski, adding that he believes the engineering creed and commitment to serve "the greater public benefit" stem some of the issues facing other volunteer organizations.