In the wake of resounding opposition to the EPA’s water quality standards, the Water Environment Federation and the International Water Association are holding a “Nutrient Recovery and Management Conference,” which is currently taking place in downtown Miami.

According to a press release, the conference will also be held in cooperation with the Florida Water Environment Association, a group that touted “high costs” as an impetus for disputing the nutrient criteria. The association’s Utility Board is made up of individuals representing some of Florida’s most notorious polluters, a fact that raised eyebrows when the group released a study that projected costs to be upwards of $8 billion.

This year’s nutrient conference is scheduled to “bring together environmental professionals from around the world to discuss and debate the current state of nutrient recovery” and will include several workshops regarding the recently released nutrient standards, which are currently the subject of several lawsuits.

The workshops are each geared specifically toward utility companies and seem to be created on the premise that the EPA’s proposed standards are much too costly. One workshop that took place on Jan. 9 was described in detail on the Water Environment Federation’s website:

A Balancing Act between Future Nutrient Regulations, Process Performance, and Reliability and Sustainability
Sunday, January 9, 2011 | 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

Proposed nutrient regulations across the country, especially in Florida are challenging engineers and operators to find ways to reduce effluent from wastewater treatment plants to ultra low nitrogen and phosphorus levels. These proposed regulations, often derived from complex scientific analyses commonly unknown to engineers, will change the way the industry does conventional enhanced nutrient removal; adding complexity and cost to an already difficult issue. This workshop will entail ABC on the development of nutrient criteria for engineers and operators; Florida’s proposed numeric nutrient criteria; perspective of nutrient requirements across the country; limits of technology from conventional [Everglades Nutrient Removal] facilities; reliability and O&M [operation & maintenance] costs ultra low [Nitrogen] and [Phosphorus] technologies; natural system performance on N and P removal; and ultra low nutrient requirements and sustainability.

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