The 6th International Conference on Flotation for Water and Waste Water Systems was to be held in New York City at Columbia University between Monday October 29 and Thursday November 1, 2012. The conference was two years in preparation.
Previous conferences had been held in Felixtowe, UK, Orlando, FL, USA, London, UK, Helsinki, Finland, and Seoul, Korea, over a time period spanning 1976 to 2012. These conferences had achieved positive impact on the growth and application of this method of water clarification in the UK, North America, Asia and South America.
There were over 100 delegates registered from Europe, South and Central America, Asia, Middle East, and North America.
However, Hurricane Sandy was expected to make landfall in the New York Metro area on Monday night and all trains, airports, subway, buses, tunnels and some bridges were shut down on Sunday evening. Manhattan was completely isolated and the Columbia University campus was closed on Sunday evening. This meant the conference venue was no longer available.
The Conference organizers decided to change the venue to Hazen and Sawyer’s New York City office headquarters located in Mid-Town Manhattan on 7th Avenue. The key personnel, including Bill Becker, Jim Edzwald, Matt Valade, and Ian Crossley, with assistance from Marc Santos and Mike Greeley, believed that the conference should proceed despite the setbacks. It was likely that most of the international delegates had arrived and would be staying in hotels in Mid-town.
The delegates were informed by email of the changed arrangements and asked to attend Hazen and Sawyers offices on Monday morning instead of Columbia University. Over 60 delegates turned up and were accommodated in the company’s Training and Board rooms. Although it was a bit tight, everyone got a seat and the conference began with a revised schedule adapted to allow for those who could not make the journey.
The Monday conference schedule was opened by Mike Borsykowsky, representing the Commissioner of New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP). Mike gave an excellent presentation and introduction on the department’s progress towards treatment of its Croton source water going back to the mid 1800’s.
Key note addresses and a full presentation schedule then took place through to mid-afternoon Monday when it was felt that delegates could safely retreat to their hotels to weather the storm.
Lunches were delivered every day, in the form of fresh sandwiches and coleslaw, by a local delicatessen on 36th Street, despite the fact that just about every local business was shut down through lack of staff. Of course, a fine selection of New York bagels was provided for snacks in the morning. The company’s coffee machines provided free coffee and tea for the delegates.
Tuesday was a full day of excellent presentations and closed off with a reception held at the local Irish pub, the Pig and Whistle, located on 36th Street, in place of the planned New York City Dinner Cruise, which had to be cancelled due to damage to the Pier and charter yacht.
Wednesday also was a full day of oral presentations and poster presentations, and the Conference closed with a panel discussion of technological and scientific development proposals for the next few years. It was announced that the next conference would be held in Toulouse, France in 2015.
Unfortunately, the planned tours of the NYCDEP Croton Water Filtration Plant and United Water’s Haworth Water Treatment Plant had to be cancelled owing to the bus company not having a bus and driver available for Thursday. However, this was the only major disruption of the whole conference.
Earth and Environmental Engineering
500 West 120 Street
New York, NY 10027
James K. Edzwald
Professor Emeritus, UMass
4 Hillcrest Dr.
Potsdam, NY, USA
William Becker, Chair, Columbia University
Kartik Chandran, Co-Chair, Columbia University
Ian Crossley, Co-Chair, Hazen and Sawyer
Howard Dunn, Aquarion Water
John Dyksen, United Water
Ryan Hess, Infilco Degremont
James K. Edzwald, UMass
James Farmerie, Leopold, a Xylem Brand
Karl Glucina, Suez
Gary Naumick, American Water
James Roberts, NYCDEP
Matthew Valade, Hazen and Sawyer