Taking it National

An Onsite Wastewater Summit in June gives onsite professionals a great opportunity to see the big picture of the industry in which they work

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Onsite treatment is in many ways a local business. A typical installer deals with state or even county-level regulations. You can buy all necessary supplies from a local distributor and machinery from a local dealer.

You can pretty much do business without ever crossing the county line if you wish, or certainly without going out of state. There just isn’t much need to spend time and money traveling to national onsite conventions.

Or is there? Onsite issues are definitely on the radar at the U.S. EPA. State regulations are changing, and what happens in the state next door may soon happen in your state. Technology changes, too, and a new treatment system just being tested in another part of the country may one day solve problems for your customers.

Besides all that, there’s a national installer credential now. There’s talk of things like model performance codes and regional codes. Maybe the business isn’t really as local as it seems.


To the summit

If you’ve been thinking maybe it’s time to explore the onsite world beyond your backyard, the best opportunity you’ve ever had is right in front of you. Three national associations are planning an Onsite Wastewater Summit in Columbus, Ohio, June 18-20.

The collaborators are:

• The National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA), of course representing onsite professionals.

• The State Onsite Regulators Alliance (SORA), whose members include regulators from all 50 states, plus the U.S. Territories, Native American tribes, and Canadian provinces.

• The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), purveyor of the Certified Installer of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems national credential, and host of the Summit as part of its 75th Annual Educational Conference & Exhibition.


First time together

For the first time, these groups are coming together to give their members and friends a big-picture view of the onsite industry, not just in the sense of geography but in the sense of viewpoint. In Columbus, you’ll have industry professionals of all stripes — site evaluators, system designers, installers, local and state regulators, equipment manufacturers, service providers, researchers, and others — meeting in one place.

That can’t help but be valuable. To cite just one of the ways: A leading tension in the industry is between those who build systems and those who enforce the regulations. Here’s a chance for people on both sides of that divide to hear multiple observations and perspectives on what is working, and what isn’t, and why. One certainly imagines that kind of sharing can lead to better regulations, better systems, a better environment, and more peace and harmony among professionals.


Time to travel?

The Summit agenda includes an array of educational presentations, a field trip tour of onsite systems being built around Columbus, a roundtable discussion of hot topics, a Wastewater Alley trade show exhibit hall, a skills competition, and a special seminar track for contractors, covering design and installation issues and their solutions.

Even leaving that aside, where else can you meet so many people with so many new ideas? It’s bound to be refreshing, and the friends and connections you make could stand you in good stead for years.

Who knows when a chance like this will come again? Columbus is within a reasonable drive from a major share of the U.S. population. If you’ve been thinking about giving yourself and your business a bigger perspective, this is your opportunity. Consider making plans now for June 18-20.

For more information about the Summit agenda and conference registration, visit www.nowra.org.


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