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The North Country Convention (NCC) is held biennially in Presque Isle, Maine and is a 2-day educational event and trade show designed for Wastewater and Drinking Water operators. This conference is held in "The County" to compliment similar annual events offered by Maine Water Environment Association (MEWEA) and Maine Water Utilities Association (MWUA). Since those events generally take place in the southern region of the state, the NCC is designed to bring the benefits of those events to the people of northern Maine.
Historically this biennial convention helps unify Maine's wastewater industry while providing educational opportunities for water pollution control professionals in northern Maine. In addition, E.J. Prescott participates as a sponsor and helps to ensure that additional classes were also available for Drinking Water operators.
Highlights from 2015On April 1 and 2, the Joint Environmental Training Coordinating Committee (JETCC) welcomed 141 attendees to the 2015 North Country Convention at the Presque Isle Inn and Convention Center. Among participants was Maine DEP and DHHS staff along with a multitude of instructors and 24 vendor representatives who volunteered their time and expertise. Volunteers from MEWEA and the JETCC Board of Directors assisted in various capacities to make sure things went smoothly.
Along with educational events, this two-day trade show featured manufacturer's representatives displaying wares and services pertinent to the water and wastewater industries.
Twenty-eight different training sessions were offered allowing participants to achieve up to 12 hours of continuing education toward their water or wastewater licenses. Topics included pump applications, the latest on dealing with pump clogs and non-dispersibles, instrumentation and SCADA, emergency generators, lab and process control practices, O&M manuals, using cameras in line inspections, and basic electricity among others.
The convention kicked off with an opening address from Presque Isle Utilities District’s Superintendent Frank Kearney, followed by a DEP Briefing presented by Brian Kavanah, Sterling Pierce, and John True.
JETCC was pleased to welcome world-renowned microbiologist Michael Gerardi to the North Country Convention. In addition to the numerous books in Wiley's Wastewater Microbiology series, Mr. Girardi has authored more than one hundred technical publications and has provided wastewater microscopy and consulting services for numerous municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants around the world. His presentations on how to use Oxidation-Reduction (ORP) data for process control and Bio Augmentation were well received by those attending his sessions.
The afternoon luncheon on April 1 featured a keynote address by Maine DEP Commissioner, Patricia Aho.
On April 2 the conference began with a full breakfast buffet in the exhibit area and officers of MEWEA and MWUA addressed the lunch crowd.
Alan Hitchcock, President of MWUA, presented Steve Freeman from the Presque Isle Utilities District with the Jeff Nixon Distinguished Service Award. This award is bestowed to a member of MWUA who has demonstrated dedication and commitment to the Maine Water Utilities Association and has made outstanding contributions to the water works profession in Maine.
JETCC created a schedule to ensure that conference participants and exhibitors had ample time together. In addition to the April 1 Meet & Greet and the 1 ½ hour full-breakfast buffet on April 2, more frequent and longer breaks were held in the Exhibit Area.
JETCC would like to thank these North Country Convention sponsors: Maine Water Environment Association, E.J. Prescott, Wright-Pierce, ClearWater Laboratory, and Ted Berry Company.
All-in-all the event was a great unifier for Maine's drinking water, wastewater, and pollution control community, and provided a wealth of networking and educational opportunities. JETCC would like to thank this year’s participants, volunteer instructors, exhibitors, and sponsors for another successful event.
We’re looking forward to the next North Country Convention in 2017!