WWETT Your Appetite for the Biggest Show in Wastewater

Top tips for building your business by attending the WWETT Show — it’s all about the equipment and the education opportunities

WWETT Your Appetite for the Biggest Show in Wastewater

The deep winter is a great time for most installers to address two things that are set aside during the busy season: fix the equipment and feed the mind.

Sure, some installers are still putting in long hours in the field due to the strong economy, but many are enjoying a winter lull as the phone isn’t ringing with potential customers or the ground is frozen solid, preventing any progress.

I’m sure you are already addressing equipment maintenance — changing hoses and belts, and cleaning and tuning up the excavators and backhoes that work so hard the rest of the year. Now it’s time to invest in yourself and your crew, enriching your knowledge of the industry and collecting necessary continuing education credits. And one of the best journeys on the road to self-improvement starts with a visit to the Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport (WWETT) Show in Indianapolis.

The biggest show in wastewater will be held Feb. 17-20 at the Indiana Convention Center. It will feature 600 exhibitors showcasing the latest in equipment, including many companies serving installers. The show also includes more than 100 education seminars, many that qualify for required state continuing education credits. For an overview of the show, you can visit the website, www.wwettshow.com.

But I also like to take some time to research the WWETT Show and help installers home in on some of the best ways they can spend their time while in Indy. And I’m not talking about the hundreds of restaurants, brewpubs and other great attractions the Crossroads of America city has to offer. The 2020 WWETT Show is rich with equipment and education experiences to help you build a successful wastewater business.

Here are a few suggestions:

Find a new technology to promote back home

I’m told that health and environment officials in many states are behind the times when it comes to accepting new onsite technologies. Change is difficult, and these departments are sometimes overworked and understaffed, they suffer turnover like any business does, and it’s just easier to stick to a few tried-and-true onsite treatment solutions. The WWETT Show affords installers the chance to see all the latest and greatest treatment systems in person and get the lowdown on performance from the vendors who know the technology best.

This is why I’m forever preaching that the exhibit floor gives folks in our industry a great opportunity to focus on new products that promise to work well in each unique region across North America. Learn all you can about systems yet to be approved by your local regulators, and be prepared to present your findings when you return from the show. Work with decision-makers and maybe you can create a partnership to start testing a wider variety of treatment options that will better serve your onsite customers. As we evolve and grow, we show decentralized wastewater treatment is a viable solution for more and more homeowners and businesses.

Show off your mad excavator skills

Watching the best machine operators in the nation work their way through excavator challenges during the annual Roe-D-Hoe competition is mesmerizing. The event, held in Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, has to be a WWETT Show highlight for spectators and participants alike. And what’s coolest is that for $5, anyone can get behind the controls of a machine and prove he or she has the chops to win the championship belt. The event is put on by the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association and is sponsored by SALCOR.

Entrants, including winners of state Roe-D-Hoe competitions, are timed in several exercises, maneuvering small objects on the end of a machine bucket. Preliminaries will be held on Feb. 18 and 19, with finalists going head-to-head on the afternoon of Feb. 19. Top finishers win $1,000 in cash and Roe-D-Hoe belt buckles. Just to recap the 2019 competition, the top finishers were (first place) John Moore of A&J Services, Zanesville, Ohio; Paul Willis of White Wolf Trucking and Excavating, Washington, Massachusetts; and Albert Breech of Breech’s Septic & Excavating, Lucasville, Ohio.

Attend three education tracks aimed at installers

Many states offer continuing education credits for wastewater professionals who attend education tracks at the WWETT Show. This year, three tracks should be attractive to installers. Here’s a brief rundown of each group of seminars with descriptions provided by the trade groups that organize them:


• Design for Pressure Distribution

Low-pressure pipe systems use a pump to move effluent to an infiltrative surface under pressure. The goal of this approach is to uniformly dose and then rest this surface multiple times per day. Special areas of concern, such as designs on sloping lots and in freezing conditions, will be discussed.

• Introduction to Key Soil Properties for Design

Soil is an integral component of onsite wastewater systems. Discussion of fundamental soil properties such as texture, clay mineralogy, color and soil structure of the internal soil profile will be presented along with soil landscape characteristics. Information about soil properties, landscape position and geometry, which influence treatment and dispersal of effluent, will be provided.

• Making Infiltrative Decisions During Design

The design of onsite systems is often very prescriptive; codes dictate many aspects of the design. However, the design of the infiltrative surface is one variable that designers are expected to be able to make decisions on. Soil depth, type, siting location, wastewater characteristics and many other variables need to be well understood to provide a system that will have good longevity and, more important, protect public health.

• Principles of Water Movement in Soil Treatment Systems

The movement of water in soils is complex and multifaceted. Essentially water moves as saturated flow or unsaturated flow. The role of gravity and pressure dosing of effluent for dispersal will be discussed relative to the influence of water and effluent movement in soil treatment areas.

• The Essentials of Septic Tank Design

The design of the septic tank is key to the effectiveness of the entire onsite system. The course will examine how tank designs have evolved and what are the essential key aspects for an effective septic tank, going beyond conventional tanks and discussing newer technologies that can be incorporated into the septic tank to increase its effectiveness and expand its capacities.

National Association of Wastewater Technicians (NAWT)

• Installing a System That “Needs a Lift”

This session will discuss correctly installing an onsite system with a pump. Learn about the different types of pumps, how they are sized and how to manage the dose volumes to ensure a successful pump system installation.

• Installing Effective Technology Components

Discuss what the installer will need to know about installing different technologies, understanding the many choices for technologies and methods used to ensure a successful install, and the differing fundamentals for aerobic treatment units, media filters and soil replacement systems.

• Introduction to the Art of Installation

The installer needs to have a complete understanding of all aspects of an onsite wastewater treatment system, from design to operation — including the concepts, regulations, designs, maintenance, operations and use of the system. The installer has experience with regulators, system designs, local soil conditions, approved technologies and system performance.

• Soils and the Installer – What You Need to Know

The installer gets the best information once they start digging regarding what the entire site actually consists of for soils. Being able to quickly and confidently identify discrepancies in the soils and communicate concerns back to the designer and regulators can save everyone time, money and future failures.

• What Are the Soils Telling Us?

More complex ideas will be discussed in detail: how to interpret the soils with your hands, understanding the plastic limit in the soil, how to run a correct and effective percolation test, how to calculate the percentage of rock in the soil, and understanding what elevations mean and how to measure and apply them correctly.

Wastewater Education 501c3 Onsite Wastewater Inspection

• Legality, Liability, Professional Ethics and Common Sense Best Practices

A system inspection can be triggered by several events. Why and who has requested the inspection has a direct bearing on who gets the final report. Learn the who, what, where and when of inspections and be provided with the legal lessons of how to avoid a costly mistake.

• Step-by-Step Guide to Locating and Recording the Condition of Treatment Field and Treatment Components

Detailed look at the techniques and safety issues involved with inspecting treatment fields and components utilizing video and virtual reality, focusing on difficult sites and difficult situations, cold-weather inspections, clay soils, and overgrown and damaged sites.

• Step-by-Step Guide to Locating and Recording the Condition of All System Components

How do you conduct an inspection in winter? What if the property has sat unoccupied for an extended period? What if there’s been a fire, a flood? What if there has been illegal activity on the site? Attendees follow an actual inspection from start to finish.

Quick picks: Three intriguing seminars for installers

I like to scan the WWETT Show’s more than 100 seminars, looking for unusual choices for installers in attendance. This year a few business-building seminars caught my eye, specifically classes aimed at attracting more young people to this vital profession and developing them to take over for an aging group of installers. This is one of the biggest challenges we will face in the coming decade. Check out these three quick picks you might otherwise not notice:

• Creating Great Techs From the Younger Workforce

Speakers Al Levi, CEO, and Jim Criniti, president, of Zoom Drain in Norristown, Pennsylvania, promise to unlock the keys to attracting millennial workers, those between ages 20 and 40, as wastewater industry technicians. They will explain how to recognize top talent within your company and exceptional new hires, follow best hiring practices to land good workers, and create a company culture that will make them want to stay.

• Quality of Life: The New Employee Retention Model

Presenter Rodney Koop, founder of The New Flat Rate, will focus on successful recruitment and retention tactics to hire good workers when there is a shortage of candidates. Among other principles, he will explain why “throwing money at employees” is not a good idea and how to adopt powerful retention methods.

• The Fortune Is the Follow-Up

Kerry Heaps, president of Pitch Like a B*tch Media, Port St. John, Florida, will give an overview of successful techniques to follow up with customers after making an initial contact. She will explain common follow-up mistakes, when that next contact should be made, and create a follow-up plan for each potential customer and a follow-up system for internal use. 


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