Just steps from the Mississippi River and the wrought iron balconies of the lively French Quarter in New Orleans, ASTERRA joined a gathering of water professionals from all over the world. The occasion was the 95th annual WEFTEC. Each year at WEFTEC, the Water Environment Foundation’s technology conference, water industry leaders collaborate with the shared goal: to transform the future of water with the latest technology, trends, and proven solutions.
On Monday October 10, ASTERRA welcomed Vessel, a black Labrador mix, the first leak detection dog in the United States, Danny Dunn, her handler, and CEO Tad Bohannon, all of Central Arkansas Water (CAW). In addition to meeting the public at ASTERRA’s booth, Vessel showed off some of her skills and was rewarded with some ball play, which is her favorite pastime. Bohannon shared the story of Vessel’s rescue, her innate ability to pick up scents, and her training to locate chlorinated water underground. Vessel was quick to train and enjoys being challenged.
The CAW team is one of many water utilities that work with ASTERRA’s Recover technology to locate water leaks in their distribution system. Utilizing PolSAR signals from satellites, ASTERRA illuminates the areas of interest and collects the resulting reflected signals. These signals are analyzed and processed to identify specific indicators of wet soil saturated with potable water. The result is a map showing likely leak locations. Vessel leads the ground crews to the leaks with 90% accuracy. Together, the program keeps non-revenue water loss to a minimum, saving money and precious resources.
On Tuesday, October 11, ASTERRA’s booth became the stage during the popular WEFTEC Technology Spotlight, in which several companies that bring progressive solutions to water challenges were featured. The collective topic was collection systems technologies. This year, so many individuals wanted to be a part of the Technology Spotlight that WEFTEC hosted multiple rounds, giving ASTERRA Sales Managers, Eric Trerotola and Bruno Tume, both opportunities to present. The spotlight was on ASTERRA’s MasterPlan pipeline monitoring and deficiency assessment technology, specifically, “Collection System Condition Assessment Technologies: The Right Tool for the Job.”
In the tech spotlight sessions, guests visit 4 or 5 vendor booths to learn about condition assessment technologies for inspection of pressure pipe, large diameter sewers, manholes, and service laterals. ASTERRA’s technology was presented amongst others including multi-sensors, traditional CCTV cameras, 360° cameras, remote sensors, and other inspection techniques. The Collection System Program Committee curated an assortment of topics to explore and recognize the benefits and limitations of each inspection technology. Other presenters included ADS, Sewer AI, and Pure Technologies.
Also on Tuesday, the Israel Economic Mission to the U.S. co-hosted a happy hour with ASTERRA, Fluence, Kando, WaterGen Inc, and Amiad Water Systems. This event gave opportunities to share information, meet new partners, and support each other in our missions.
During the evenings, ASTERRA connected with partners, seeing the city of New Orleans. Highlights include tasting the local cuisine: alligator, gumbo, charred oysters, and of course, beignets.
This year’s conference was much more heavily attended than last year, which was just coming off COVID restrictions. It was exciting to have the industry attend at full force. Through collaboration at conferences like WEFTEC, we all work together for a sustainable world. There is much valuable innovation in the areas of water and sustainability, and we look forward to attending again in 2023.