Water Quality Professionals to Host “Bioswales in the Bayou” Community Service Project This Weekend

Who: The Water Environment Federation (WEF), in coordination with Global Green and Groundwork New Orleans, has organized a community service project in conjunction with WEFTEC® 2010, the world's largest annual water quality conference and exhibition. Managed by WEF's Students and Young Professionals Committee (SYPC), "Bioswales in the Bayou" will include the construction of a bioswale in the Lower Ninth Ward of the city. Representatives from WEF and local dignitaries, including Charles E. Allen III, Director of New Orleans Mayor Landrieu's Office of Environmental Affairs, are expected to share their vision for environmental protection and community service during the opening ceremony and groundbreaking.

What: The Lower Ninth Ward was one of the most heavily damaged areas from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and was selected by WEF and the SYPC because of its particular vulnerability to severe wet weather occurences. The construction of a bioswale will help limit overland flooding by retaining storm water runoff while removing silt and pollution. To help promote environmental stewardship and local involvement, event organizers will also host a special water carnival for residents from 10:00a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Community organizations, state agencies, university groups, and WEF entities will provide hands-on activities and information to the community regarding sustainable neighborhoods, water quality, wastewater treatment, and other environmental issues that impact the community and the country. Local schools, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and other after-school programs have also been invited. Each student will be given a "passport" to travel around to each booth and learn about the water and environment in their community. Several hundred grade school students and their families are expected to attend.

When: Saturday, October 2, 2010 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Where: The corner of Andry Street and N. Peters Street in the Holy Cross neighborhood of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, LA.

Why: In 2005 when the city's levees broke under pressure from Hurricane Katrina-generated storm surges, the entire Lower Ninth Ward experienced catastrophic flooding and widespread devastation. Now five years later, much of the neighborhood remains unchanged but should be able to gradually recover through ongoing collaborative efforts and increased community involvement. The "Bioswales in the Bayou" project supports grassroots solutions on a local level, and also promotes WEF's overall mission to preserve and enhance the global water environment. In 2008, WEF's SYPC began organizing community service projects as part of WEFTEC in order to promote environmental stewardship and to leave a positive imprint on the conference's host location.

In addition to the event coordinators, project and in-kind sponsors include: Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services, Archer Western Alberici, Baker Transportation & Logistics, Bayou Rebirth, Black & Veatch, Bottom Line Equipment, Brentwood Industries, Brown and Caldwell, CDM, Chesapeake Water Environment Association, City of New Orleans Police Department, Cleveland Tubing Inc., Delta Mining LLC, Duperon Corporation, Eimco, Fluid Control Specialties Inc., Future Proof, Greater Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church, HACH, HDR Engineering, Hike for KaTREEna, Jenkins Farm and Nursery, LaFarge Aggregate, Lower 9th Ward Village Community Center, LSU AgCenter Extension Response and Recover Task Force, Make it Right Foundation, Municipal Water District of Orange County, New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board, Pacific Northwest Clean Water Association, Stantec, Storm Hunter Hauling, Veolia Water, Westfall Manufacturing, WESTON Solutions, and World Water Works Inc.

Featured water carnival booths include: Bayou Land RCD, Bayou Rebirth, CDM, City of New Orleans, Duperon Corporation, Engineers Without Borders, Global Green, Groundwork New Orleans, Hands-On New Orleans, Horizon Water Initiative Committee, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Louisiana Water Environment Association, Our School at Blair Grocer, Society of Women Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

WEFTEC 2010, the Water Environment Federation's 83rd annual technical exhibition and conference, will be held at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center from October 2-6, 2010. This year's conference is expected to host thousands of water professionals and exhibitors from around the world and will feature the latest research, training, solutions and cutting-edge technologies available in the water quality field. Visit www.weftec.org for the latest conference details.