As part of the Water Environment Federation’s Annual Technical Exhibition (WEFTEC), a community service project was organized by WEF’s Students and Young Professionals Committee (SYPC). This year’s event took place on Saturday, September 29, 2018 at Treme Community Recreation Center in New Orleans. Conference and community volunteers spent the day constructing a bioswale and an educational green infrastructure graphic.

WEF’s 11th community service project involved retrofitting the Treme Community Center’s planter box along St. Phillip Street to capture and treat stormwater from the roof, by disconnecting the downspouts and allowing the water to flow into the planter box. The planter box was planted with water loving, native plant species. Educational signage was also installed to teach people about the benefits of the retrofitted planter box.

Volunteers arrived eager to put on their work gloves and make a difference. This event showcased the dedication of WEF volunteers to improving the water environment and educating the community about the value of water.

“We are really excited to be getting more green infrastructure (GI) in New Orleans because we need to substitute grey infrastructure with GI in order to mitigate flooding”,” said Anna Patterson, Senior City Planner at the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans.

See below for Before and After photos.

It was my first time participating in WEF’s Community Service Project and I was simply amazed to see the enthusiasm and dedication of the volunteers, which was totally contagious. “In 2008, WEF’s SYPC began organizing community service projects as part of WEFTEC in order to promote environmental stewardship and to leave a positive imprint on the conference’s host location” said Rebecca West, past WEF President (2008-2009).

The service project ended with a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the bioswale. Local and WEF leadership attended the opening ceremony to share their vision for environmental protection and community involvement and service.

Kudos to everyone who participated to make this project successful including the organizers, volunteers, sponsors, donors etc.

Photos credit: Natalie Keene, WEF Volunteer (