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Westchester Water Works Conference Holds Annual Meeting In Peekskill

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – The Westchester Water Works Conference held its annual meeting Monday evening on the water at The Harbor at Charles Point.

Adam Smith, conference director and Somers water superintendent, said the meeting is held to elect officers and directors, among other things.

"This year we're only electing three directors," Smith said. "Normally officers are for a two-year period and directors are for a three-year period."

Also planned for the meeting were the presentation of financial reports and awards. The organization gives out advancement awards for water departments that make improvements to their systems, as well as scholarships toward advancing education in related fields.

"Besides the regular membership we have associate members, such as engineering firms and suppliers for the water industry, and we meet with them as well," Smith said.

Education is a key part of the organization's mission, Smith said.

"Water treatment plant operators need continuing education units each year, and we provide that through workshops," he said.

Ed Khuns, Peekskill water and sewer superintendent and this year's conference chairman, said the organization represents several hundred public and private water-using entities, and encourages cooperation among them.

"This organization is geared toward professionals in the water industry, the entire county," Khuns said. "We reach out to find people to work with, because nobody does this by themself. They may have a part that I need or I may have a part that they need, and we work together."

When asked what challenges water departments face, Smith and Khuns said a lack of money to attend state and national conferences, as well as stricter federal and state restrictions, made their jobs tougher. Aging infrastructure is also an issue in many parts of Westchester, they said.

"We're mandated to provide potable drinking water to meet standards, but we're not getting money from the federal government to do that, so you have to put it onto the people you serve," Smith said.

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