NAWT NOWRA Mega-Conference

Why Attend?

Join Your Colleagues for the Onsite Wastewater Event of the Year!
Now in its third year, the Onsite Wastewater Mega-Conference is a collaboration between several national and state onsite wastewater organizations:
NAWT – National Association of Wastewater Technicians
NOWRA – National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association
SORA – State Onsite Regulators Alliance
MOWA – Minnesota Onsite Wastewater Association

So what does that mean for you?
Something for everyone. No matter your role in the onsite wastewater industry -- contractor, engineer, designer, regulator, or educator -- you should plan to attend this conference. You will find lots of useful learning opportunities:
You'll get ideas to help support your current business. Through education sessions, conversations with colleagues, and meetings with many of the industry's most progressive and innovative companies in the exhibit hall, you can get new ideas for building your existing business.
You can identify new ways to expand your business. Onsite/decentralized technologies are being applied in ways that could never have been imagined only a few years ago. Plus, with factors such as increasing water shortages, skyrocketing costs to build and maintain central sewer infrastructure, and a wide range of applications finding new market niches, the opportunities for your company to expand into different business segments have never been better.
Bigger really is better. While size doesn’t always matter, it will here. Having such a wide range of options for meeting your education needs is another reason to attend the Mega-Conference.
You can meet your continuing education requirements. In most states, the conference curriculum will qualify for credit hours in licensing or professional certification programs. We are working to secure approval for continuing education credit from all states which license or certify installers, service providers, inspectors and designers.
It's an investment, not an expense. If you get one good idea which translates into more business or a better way to do things, you will more than justify your cost of attending. Invest in yourself and your organization.


Conference Highlights

Learn...Share...SocializeTechnical Education
Choose from 60 sessions covering regulation, policy, installation, technical issues and case studies.

State Association Workshop
Calling all state onsite association leaders! This all-afternoon workshop is an idea factory. This is an interactive session where some of the best programs offered by onsite associations are showcased. You'll get lots of ideas for recruiting new members, engaging the public, setting direction for your organization, and win-win partnerships.
Minnesota track focusing on cold weather challenges, inspections and lake sites. If you're from a state with long and cold winters you'll want to check out sessions covering troubleshooting and ongoing maintenance considerations for frozen septic systems. Sessions on point of sale inspections and design and installation considerations for small lots or those around lakes are also covered in this track.
Outstanding Field Trips
Three excellent field trips are planned: One will cover decentralized water reuse. A second will combine a visit to large decentralized facilities with a visit to a major precast concrete manufacturing facility. The final tour will help participants better understand why site and soil inspections are important and how they drive design decisions. This will be a hand-on session combining both classroom and field work at a challenging onsite facility at the University of Minnesota landscape arboretum.
NOWRA/NAWT Expo Dozens of leading national companies will be displaying their latest products and services
Great Social Events
Opening Reception -- Join us Sunday Evening and reconnect with your colleagues from across the country.
Exhibitor Appreciation Reception -- Help us thank the many vendors who are supporting the Onsite Wastewater Mega-Conference and have cocktails and hors d'oeuvres on us!
NOWRA National Backhoe Roe-D-Hoe® -- Think you’re a great backhoe operator? You can prove it by competing at the Roe-D-Hoe®. Post your best time for a chance at $1,400 in prizes!
Minnesota Backhoe Roe-D-Hoe® -- MOWA members will compete to identify a state champion (who will also be able to compete in the national championship) Monday Evening at US Bank Stadium -- Ever want to see behind the scenes at an NFL stadium? Join us in Minneapolis at the home of the 2018 Super Bowl for good food, adult beverages and tours of the stadium facilities.
Opening General Session Get a high-level view of key issues facing our industry, including Minnesota's progressive approach toward onsite wastewater management and funding, EPA's activities on behalf of our industry, and a 20,000-foot look at the decentralized/onsite industry -- new opportunities, threats, and greater acceptance in many new contexts.


General Session

Featured Topics and Keynote Speakers:
Minnesota's Legacy - Water Resources
John Linc Stine, Commissioner, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Minnesotans do not take their water quality for granted. In 2008, Minnesota's voters passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment (Legacy Amendment) to the Minnesota Constitution to: protect drinking water sources; to protect, enhance, and restore wetlands, prairies, forests, and fish, game, and wildlife habitat; to preserve arts and cultural heritage; to support parks and trails; and to protect, enhance, and restore lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater. Governor Dayton is implementing his “25 by ‘25” goal to improve Minnesota’s water quality 25 percent by 2025. Without additional actions, water quality is only expected to improve 6 to 8 percent by 2034. “25 by ‘25” is meant to engage local governments, businesses, farmers, scientists, and others in a new collaborative effort to restore and improve water quality across Minnesota. Governor Dayton’s proposal would not add new regulations, but would instead drive public engagement and partnerships to address Minnesota’s water quality challenges. Efforts like this are why Minnesota is known as a leader in protecting its water resources.
Financing Decentralized Solutions in Minnesota
Jeff Freeman, Bill Dunn, Aaron Jensen, Dwight Wilcox and Eric VanDyken
Minnesota has a long history of addressing the wastewater treatment needs of all Minnesotans. Officials have acknowledged that different situations call for different solutions and committed to create programs that serve diverse audiences - individual homeowners, bare bones local units of government, and municipalities in rural or urban/rural transition areas. A panel of senior state and local government agency officials will describe the state's multi-faceted approach to managing water in the state.
Update on EPA and the Decentralized Wastewater Program
Senior EPA Official
A senior official from the US EPA's Office of Water will provide an update on EPA's activities regarding initiatives within EPA which have an impact on the onsite/decentralized wastewater industry.
New Developments in Decentralized Infrastructure
Dr. Lynn Broaddus, The Broadview Collaborative
Sometimes it seems as if privately managed decentralized systems and decentralized systems being utilized by public utilities are in two different worlds rather than being two sides of the same coin. As the person who let the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread's groundbreaking "Charting New Waters" initiative, Dr. Broaddus is uniquely positioned to understand what is happening in both worlds and how they are contributing to goal of One Water management. She will share some of the insights she has gleaned from her efforts leading "Charting New Waters" regarding how public utilities are approaching decentralized/distributed infrastructure acquisition and management. In addition she will identify areas and opportunities where both private and public sectors can work more closely together.


Concurrent Education Sessions

Select an Education Track below to open a PDF document with a full abstract for each session:
Community & Cluster Systems
Funding & Decentralized
Minnesota Highlights & Panel Discussion
NAWT O&M Professional Systems Technician
Policy & Regulation


Field Trips

Field Trip 1
Large/Community Onsite Systems Tours
8:00 am – 3:10 pm
This tour will showcase facilities that demonstrate the role of onsite wastewater technologies in serving a larger community and a regional utility wastewater management system.
8:00 am – Depart Hotel
8:45 am – 9:45 am – Arrive Afton, MN – The City of Afton Large Subsurface Sewage Treatment System (LSTS) provides sanitary service to Afton’s “Old Village” along the St. Croix River in Washington County. The LSTS, designed to treat 50,550 gallons per day (gpd) of wastewater, is the largest soil-based subsurface treatment system in Minnesota. As the ultimate treated effluent is dispersed to the native soil, stringent limits are in-place to ensure the protection of the environment and public heath prior to groundwater recharge. Specifically, the MN state permit includes a 10 mg/L total nitrogen limit at the end-of-pipe prior to soil dispersal. To achieve this level of treatment, the LSTS includes primary, secondary, and tertiary wastewater treatment processes. The tour will allow participants to view these treatment components in operation and allow for discussion.
9:45 am – 10:45 am – Travel to next site
10:35 am – 12:45 pm - Wieser Concrete Plant Tour - To showcase a precast concrete manufacturing facility that produces various products for wastewater management and treatment. The plant features a total building area of 101,000 square feet, 12 overhead cranes (3 ton to 25 ton capacities), 16 boom/crane trucks (11,000 to 40,000 pound capacities), and more.
Lunch - Provided by Wieser Concrete
12:45 pm – 1:25 pm – Travel to next site
1:25 pm – 2:25 pm - St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park, MN – Washington County operates a seasonal campground in the south part of the county with one of the more complex septic systems in the county. The installation of the system itself was interesting. The biggest hurdle on this site was the sandstone and limestone below the soil. Large jackhammers and excavators were needed to get the tank holes and force mains deep enough to install. A six way automatic distributing valve was utilized to dose 6 separate drain field areas. These drain fields were installed using chambers. This eliminated the need to haul in aggregate and allowed more workers to remain onsite and keep the install moving. The tour will go over considerations during the design phase, the complexity of the installation, and operational issues encountered during the life of this system.
2:25 pm – 3:10 pm - Travel back to Conference Hotel

Field Trip 2
Keys to Successful Designs: Gathering of Pertinent Information and Field Inspections
8:15 am – 4:00 pm This tour will combine classroom discussion and a field visit. The classroom portion will focus on design and soil considerations which are most important to collect and describe, followed by a discussion on the specific design issues at the Tashjian Bee and Pollinator Discovery Center. The field visit will include soil pit observation and description, followed by inspection and review of system components.
8:15 am – Depart Hotel
9:00 AM – Arrive at Tashjian Bee and Pollinator Discovery Center, UM Landscape Arboretum, Chanhassen, MN
AM Classroom Discussion
9:00-10:00 AM: Focus on field-collected design parameters Dave Gustafson will present an overview of important design parameters that can and should be collected during the site and soil investigation. Reporting and application of this information to septic system design will also be discussed.
10:00-11:00 AM: Importance of soil/site descriptions Dan Wheeler will present an overview of the critical soil and site conditions to understand and describe during a field visit. Reporting and interpretation of these properties will also be discussed.
11:00 AM- Noon: Site-specific design concerns and solutions Shane Steinbrecher, Dave Gustafson, Dan Wheeler will present an overview of the site-specific conditions of the Tashjian Bee and Pollinator Discover Center. We will also discuss the decision-making process for determining solutions to these concerns.
Noon-1:00 PM: Lunch (provided)
PM Field Experience
1:00-2:00 PM: Soil pit observation and description Dan Wheeler, Stacey Feser, Brandon Montgomery will lead the group through a standard soil pit observation and description. Special attention will be given to the soil properties important for proper treatment and acceptance of septic tank effluent.
2:00-3:30 PM: Existing septic system design review and solutions – field inspection All presenters will review and inspect the various system components (septic tanks, lift station, pretreatment and soil treatment area). Discussion on installation, monitoring, maintenance, etc. will occur.
3:30PM-4:00 PM Travel back to Conference Hotel

Field Trip 3
Water Reuse Systems Tour (1/2 day tour, lunch not provided)
8:00 am – 12:00 pm
This tour will showcase facilities reusing wastewater and stormwater within the Twin Cities metropolitan region
8:00 am – Depart Hotel
8:30 am – 10:00 am – Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) Stormwater harvesting and wastewater reuse irrigation systems . The SMSC public works/natural resources staff and the design engineer will be present at the two sites (commercial and residential) to discuss operation of their system.
10:00 am – 10:30 am – Travel to next site
10:30 am -11:30 am - University of Minnesota student dorm, Minneapolis Campus reuse of stormwater The 17th Avenue Residence Hall on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus is a 600-bed dormitory with 70 bathrooms. Constructed in 2013, the building sits on a 1.1-acre site that is nearly 100% impervious. In order to manage the stormwater run-off from the roof and walkways, a rainwater harvest system was constructed. The main feature of the system is a 35,000-gallon cistern that holds water before treating it, ultimately delivering it to the building's toilets. For the 2017-2018 academic year, 265,000 gallons of stormwater was used for flushing toilets. A representative of the University will be onsite to explain operation and maintenance of the system. In addition, a representative of the University will discuss a future stormwater reuse project that is in the process of being designed and built at the football stadium.
11:30 am – 12:00 noon – Travel back to Conference Hotel