Niagara Falls: from honeymoon to Love Canal and back by RR Roll

Wasteland to parkland: the Cherry Farm/River Road Remediation by JG Goeddertz, JH Kyles, MS Raybuck

Niagara River toxics 2000 by Niagara River Secretariate

Involving youth in water quality issues by J Spisiak

Remedial action plans in Lake Ontario Basin

Coarse monomedia filtration: a solution to wet weather flow by BT Smith and KM Miller

Water resources management history project by RD Hennigan

Managing Mercury in Erie County by MC Rossi

People and places

President's message by AJ Zabinski

Executive director's report by P Cerro-Reehil

WEF news


Fall 2000 — Vol. 30, No. 3

 

President's message

by Adam J. Zabinski, PE

What makes NYWEA a strong organization, one that attracts over 2000 members and has had a continuous existence since 1929? What keeps us going through various economic, political, and social changes? The answer is really quite simple - volunteerism and a commitment to the environment through protecting the waters of New York State. This is a powerful combination. The first provides the mechanism by which we can participate, and the second provides the goal we hope to achieve. Our members provide the passion.

Volunteers are the means our organization uses to accomplish anything. Our paid staff of two with additional part-time help performs the routine and administrative duties an organization our size generates. This is no small effort, but our work is performed by our many members through our committees and related activities. The Executive Director is discussing this important relationship in her message. I have always been impressed by the energy volunteers bring to any activity whether it be our Association or any other. To a large extent I believe this strength comes from the fact that volunteers have very little to gain personally from their efforts and focus on what is important in achieving our goals.

This issue of CLEARWATERS on the Niagara frontier serves to accentuate the importance of protecting our water resources. If you look at the state and its history, you will see just how important a role our waters have played in our State's success economically and as a place to live. To whatever extent we enhance our resources, or fail to do so, New York's desirability and importance in the nation are affected. In the early days the stress was on commerce; the mighty Hudson and St. Lawrence Rivers and Long Island Sound were exploited. When this proved insufficient to the state's needs, canals such as the Erie through the center and another along the southern tier were built. Ultimately, the major metropolitan areas in the state grew along the water routes. Along with commerce, industry grew and flourished along the shores of our waterways.

It is into this framework that NYWEA became a player when cleaning up New York State's waters became essential first to protect our resources for drinking and human use and later to protect our fragile ecosystems from further harm. Commerce and industry had developed with the view that our waters were infinite and could take care of themselves. We became active in wastewater treatment improvements and working with the State to provide funding and a regulatory framework to assure cleaner water. In the last quarter century it has become fashionable and lucrative to espouse environmental causes. With blossoming research in technology, habitats, ecosystems, and their interactions has come a proliferation of groups and organizations that beckon us as members and seek to take our time and energy. This competition must be acknowledged. What do we have to offer our existing and prospective members that is special?

Our purpose is to protect the waters of New York. That is our goal, and our members see NYWEA as a broad approach to the issues with plenty of room for members to have a range of different opinions and individual objectives. It makes us a good umbrella organization. There are a number of other organizations that focus on part of what we believe but none with our encompassing vision. The factions within our association make for spirited and productive discussions and allow us to synthesize the best of many ideas.

NYWEA approaches all issues as educational opportunities and people respond. We sponsor skills training for operators with NYSDEC and track certification credits for operator certificate renewal. The technical and research papers at technical conferences improve the knowledge of engineers, administrators, and elected officials for better decision-making. We sponsor scholarships for future entrants into the field of environmental protection to ease the financial burden of education. We sponsor student chapters at various universities around the state to provide opportunities to discuss environmental issues at the university level. Through our public education programs we attempt to show younger children and teens the importance of water because our children are the true renewable resource that can protect New York's waters for future generations.

Fostering the next generation

I want to emphasize the scholarship program and the fund drive underway to finance it. We currently give four $1000 scholarships at the State level and a number of others at the chapter level each year. In the interest of making this self-sustaining, we started a fund drive with a goal of $300,000 to fund our scholarships. I appeal to individuals and corporations alike to contribute generously. These contributions are also tax deductible as charitable contributions. The sooner we can achieve our goal, the sooner we can expand our program to reach more students and aid the cause of water quality enhancement.

In conclusion, people join NYWEA, and NYWEA continues strong because people believe in what we stand for and how we accomplish our goals and are willing to devote their own time and energy to the goals. Because of our long and continuing list of accomplishments, our members have the satisfaction of knowing their efforts are fruitful and that they make a difference. This is the reward a nonprofit organization such as ours aspires to. We all need to feel we make a valuable contribution. Keep up the good work.

Be involved!
Participation makes membership much more rewarding.


____________
Adam J. Zabinski, PE, president of NYWEA, is with the Westchester County Department of Environmental Facilities.


 

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