In the wake of headlines about the water crisis in Flint, Mich. — as well as the nation’s continuing need to use water more efficiently — the fifth International Emerging Technology Symposium drew more than 120 attendees from the plumbing industry, water utilities and academia May 10-11 to Rosemont, Ill. Debated during the event was the impact of water conservation on water quality.

“With high-profile issues such as the Flint lead crisis and the increase in reported legionellosis events, industry experts are placing a higher degree of focus on the unintended consequences of water and energy conservation,” IAPMO Group CEO Russ Chaney said. “The water and energy conservation communities have seen the technological advancements being made in our industry over each two-year period of this symposium, dating back to the first International Emerging Technology Symposium conducted in 2008. These advancements have presented society with safer and more reliable water supplies, and sanitation protocols are being presented in a safe and sustainable manner.”

Co-convened by the Alliance for Water Efficiency, American Society of Plumbing Engineers, Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association, Plumbing Manufacturers International, United Association and the World Plumbing Council, the event gathered nearly 30 experts in the fields of water, energy efficiency, plumbing and civil engineering and microbiology to discuss their areas of expertise.

This year’s symposium addressed a variety of issues, including: “Innovation in Urban Onsite Water Reuse”; “Sustainable Water Reclaim Systems”; “Estimating Peak Water Demands in Buildings with Efficient Fixtures”; “Pathogen Research in the Built Environment”; “Advancing Energy Efficiency in Urban Water Systems”; “Common Mistakes in Managing Legionella in Large Buildings”; and “Water Quality, Water Savings and Water-Energy Nexus — Three Issues, One Solution?” The discussions paused long enough to present a cake to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the EPA’s WaterSense program.

The symposium included panels on “Mitigating Opportunistic Pathogen Outbreaks from Premise Plumbing Systems” and “Hot Water System Efficiency and Research,” the latter discussion moderated by BNP Media Plumbing Group Publisher Bob Miodonski.

Presentations from the symposium may be viewed at

The sixth International Emerging Technology Symposium is being planned for 2018.