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The American Water Works Association (AWWA), an authoritative resource on safe drinking water, opened its 121st annual conference and exposition at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans yesterday. Fifteen thousand members are expected to attend the conference the first AWWA has hosted since the events of September 11, 2001.
Following September 11, the safety of America's drinking water supply has been a continued focus by the media, as well as regulatory and legislative officials, thoroughly examining any terrorist action that could effect a large population at once. Since then, drinking water districts and industry associations have taken great care to respond to those concerns.
"It's fair to say that the events of September 11 had an impact on the design of our sessions this year," said Jack Hoffbuhr, executive director of AWWA. "Our goal is to supply our attendees with the most up-to-date information possible on security and counter-terrorism efforts as it relates to the drinking water industry. Although, the potential of a widespread threat to our drinking water supply is minimal we are, after all, living in a different world."
AWWA's workshop tracks include "Counter-Terrorism and Security in the Water Industry," and its H2Open Forum will discuss keeping water utility security in perspective. The five-day conference will feature more than 70 technical sessions and 10 pre-conference workshops focusing on other key topics such as energy solutions, arsenic compliance, filtration, and regulatory mandates.
Established in 1881, AWWA is the oldest and largest nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to safe drinking water in North America. AWWA has 56,000 members worldwide and its 4,500 utility members serve 80 percent of America's population.