Reuse and Recycling Leaders Gather in Atlanta to Reimagine Water

Reuse and Recycling Leaders Gather in Atlanta to Reimagine Water

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The world’s top experts in water reuse and recycling recently convened in Atlanta for the 2023 WateReuse Symposium to envision a sustainable future made possible with water recycling. Participants learned about the latest technology and research, toured buildings that reuse their own water, and celebrated by drinking beer brewed with purified recycled water.

“From state capitals to Washington, D.C., we are seeing polices and funding put in place to accelerate the adoption of water recycling, and to help us better manage the water that we use in our homes and businesses,” says Craig Lichty, client director and vice president at Black & Veatch, and WateReuse Association’s current president.

One of the highlights of the 2023 WateReuse Symposium was the first-ever panel conversation held by the new Federal Water Reuse Interagency Working Group. Established under the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this working group includes senior officials from across the federal government, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense and Bureau of Reclamation. The federal panelists engaged with the audience of engineers, environmentalists and local government officials to seek input on how the federal government can support water recycling programs.

The 2023 WateReuse Symposium, which marked 38 years of annual gatherings for the WateReuse Association, was the first to be held in Georgia. Georgia and the broader Southeast region are quickly emerging as water recycling hotspots, as climate change leads to more unpredictable precipitation, and aging water infrastructure reaches the end of its useful life.

“Water recycling is quickly becoming an important water management tool nationally, and across the globe,” says Patricia Sinicropi, executive director of the WateReuse Association. “It’s a true multi-benefit solution, which will not only provide water for drought-stricken communities, but improve our communities’ resilience to storms, the quality of our drinking water, and the equitable management of our water resources.”

The symposium also marked the inaugural Industrial Water Reuse Champion Awards, recognizing three Fortune 1000 companies for incorporating best-in-class water recycling programs. The winners, APA Corporation, PepsiCo and Intel, have implemented significant water recycling into their operations to achieve their water management goals.

Conference participants also got to taste Revival Lager, a special beer brewed with recycled water at local Fox City Brewery. “Water is the biggest element to making beer, and a perfect water profile is integral to making great beer. Because it was treated with reverse osmosis, which removes pretty much all dissolved matter, this purified water makes a great clean slate with which to build any type of beer,” says Chris Bump, head brewer of Fox City Brewing Co., who is also serving Revival Lager at his brewery.

Following the closing plenary this Wednesday, water recycling practitioners returned to cities across the United States and 12 other countries to build more sustainable water futures for their communities. Plans are already in the works to gather in 2024 in Denver to continue collaborating.


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