Sep 16, 2014

Join Up

Storm water committees offer professionals education, networking

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has a number of opportunities that allow storm water professionals to learn, socialize and engage. 

ASCE is divided into eight institutes, including the Structural Engineering Institute, the Geo Institute, and the Transportation and Development Institute. The Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI) is where the storm water-related disciplines tend to concentrate. Within the EWRI, there are a number of councils that focus on their area’s expertise and are made up of EWRI members from academia, government, private consulting and industry. Examples of councils include the Environmental Council, Groundwater Council, and Hydraulics and Waterways Council.

I am a member of the Urban Water Resources Research Council (UWRRC, www.uwrrc.org). The UWRRC is the governing body for a group of committees that form task groups that put together products, including workshops and webinars, conferences, technical papers on various subjects, peer review subcommittees and Manuals of Practice. The UWRRC has received authorization to publish a new journal called The Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment, which will serve as a home for all of the peer-review papers relating to urban storm water management.

The UWRRC’s Low Impact Development Committee sets up the International Low Impact Development Conference, to be held in Houston in 2015. The Watershed Committee is close to publishing a document on pathogens in urban storm water systems as well as one on guidance for public safety protection at urban storm water management facilities. The UWRRC also is home to the International BMP Database (www.bmpdatabase.org). 

Every year the EWRI puts on the World Environmental & Water Congress, which was held in Portland, Ore., in 2014 and will be held in Austin, Texas, in 2015. At the congress, there are many days of symposia where professionals can present their research as well as interact and discuss issues related to urban water resources and the environment. 

As a member of ASCE, you can select the EWRI as your institute. Once you are a member, you can participate in committees of your interest. Help is always welcome, and it is a great place to learn, interact with your professional colleagues, get CEUs and build your resume. You do not need to be an engineer; the UWRRC is multidisciplinary.

For those interested in helping to manage the process, being a member of the council creates opportunities to help steer the future of research and keep tabs on cutting-edge thought on issues relating to storm water management, water quality and regulatory issues.

I think sometimes people associate ASCE participation with senior engineers and professors, but the opposite is true. It is a great organization for young and entry-level professionals to learn, socialize and engage. As a long-standing member, I can certainly say this organization has been a plus for my career and an avenue to making great friends and professional colleagues.   

About the author

James H. Lenhart, P.E., D.WRE, is consulting chief technology officer for Contech Engineered Solutions and owner of Stormwater Northwest LLC. Lenhart can be reached at [email protected].

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