MidAtlantic Biosolids Association

A Biosolids Research Update from Sally Brown, University of Washington


 It rained.  So, we can breathe again. 

 The first 15 years or so that I lived in Seattle fire season wasn’t a thing.  Times have changed.  In 2020, with the fire season just beginning in CA and thankfully ending in OR and WA, we have close to 5 million acres burned.  That is 3 million acres in CA, just under 1 million in OR, and 0.6 million in WA.  Fire destroys trees, understory, buildings, wildlife, and, unfortunately, people.  It also destroys soils.  Sticking with the good news that is 2020, this library is all about fire’s impact on soils and how biosolids and compost can fit in to limit the damage.
 To understand how biosolids/ composts can help soils after a fire you first have to understand what fires do to soils.  That is article #1 (Effects of fire on properties of forest soils: a review).  A summary of that article is also available in my September 21, 2020, BioCycle Magazine Article “Connections: Fire And Soil.”  The damage that fire can do to soils depends on how hot the fire gets and how deep into the ground it burns.  The organic matter in the soil is the flammable stuff.  A fire can burn off much of the organic matter including carbon and nitrogen.  It can also transform the carbon into different forms, graphite being one of those forms.  Fires can essentially turn soil organic matter into pencils.  You can use this graphite to write with (you’ll need to supply your own eraser) but it isn’t so good for maintaining soil structure.  It can also turn some of the metal oxides into a type of cement.  The end result of this is that the burned soil is typically low in active carbon and nitrogen.  Soil structure is typically compromised with higher bulk density and lower pore space.  It is also hydrophobic.  When the rains come, these burnt soils are highly susceptible to erosion and very reluctant to let any water infiltrate.  That can add insult to injury when a mudslide comes down the burnt mountainside to rest on what remains of your home after the fire.
 A first goal here (apart from stopping those gender reveal parties and preventing the fire in the first place) is to limit the damage once the fire has been put out.  The next two articles in the library review the efficacy of traditional methods to control erosion.  The first (Polyacrylamide application versus forest residue mulching for reducing post-fire runoff and soil erosion) is from Spain where the authors compare polyacrylamide (PAM) and chopped up forest residue for stopping erosion post-burn.  The forest control plot lost 8.4 Mg ha of soil that first year.  So did the PAM.  The forest residue only lost about 0.8 Mg ha of soil.  Forget the PAM as an option.
 The second study (Effectiveness of three post-fire rehabilitation treatments in the Colorado Front Range) took place in Colorado.  Here they tried seeding, straw mulch, and contour felling (cutting the dead trees so that they fall perpendicular to the slope).  Here, the control plots lost 6-10 Mg ha of soil in the first year after the fire.  This decreased to 1-2 tons the next year.  Soil loss is typically greatest the first year after a burn.  Mulching was the winner here, reducing soil loss by over 95% compared with the control.  Contour felling was a mixed bag, performing well in some cases but not with big storm events.
 If mulch and straw can do it, my educated guess is that biosolids and compost can do it one better.  Paper #4 (Biosolids applications affect runoff water quality following forest fire) tests just that with biosolids compost in Colorado.  This is one of a series of papers from this group on the Buffalo Creek site.  They applied the compost at 40 and 80 Mg ha to the soils.  Sediment loss was measured after simulated rain events.  The high rate of the compost reduced sediment loss compared with the control.  It also improved plant growth, which in turn will reduce erosion.  My issue with this study is that the rainfall simulation took place 3 years after the fire and 2 years after the compost application.  As stated earlier, most of the sediment is lost in the first year.  So, while this study is great and the first in the field, they missed the most important window.  Study #5 got right on it.
For study #5, Composts as post-fire erosion control treatments and their effect on runoff water quality, the researchers arranged exactly where and when the fire would occur.  The authors worked with the local fire department to set up a control burn of the site.  That likely meant that the fire severity was mild, but still.  The biosolids and green waste compost were spread less than two months after the burn and before the rains came.  The treatments included two mesh sizes of the green waste compost applied at 2.3 and 5 cm depths and two rates of the biosolids with the 5 cm depth also incorporated.  While they didn’t measure soil loss per se, they did measure runoff and total suspended solids.  All treatments reduced runoff by over 75% compared to the control.  No differences between them.  Same with total suspended solids.  There were differences in nutrient flows from the plots.  The biosolids compost at the higher rate lost A LOT more NH4 than the control or the other treatments.  Different treatments lost different amounts of P, but all pretty much lost less than the control.  These reductions in sediment loss and water volume were reflected in reduced turbidity for the water coming off of the plots as well.  There is a whole section on metal loss but I stopped losing sleep over metals awhile back.
 The group that did study #5, with David Crohn at UC Riverside, is working on another study on soils that were burnt by accident.  No results or pictures so far.  It is true that there is limited work on how to best use composts to stop erosion after fires.  What we do know sounds like this is an answer.  We don’t have the full body of research to know exactly what the best approach is.  We certainly have enough acreage out there to do a few studies/ demonstrations.  I personally think that if you mulched some of the deadwood on-site and mixed it with some Class B cake- you’d have a great recipe for eliminating soil loss and limited nutrient movement.  Anyone want to try it?

Biosolids in the U.S.

Linden Biosolids Plant Nearing Completion
Linden, NJ (9/30/20) - Construction at the Aries Linden Biosolids Gasification Facility is expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year. The plant will process 430 tons of biosolids daily and produce 22 tons of a biochar, which will be made into concrete, as well as methane gas which will be combusted to generate power.

January Trial Set for Biosolids Suit Against E. Penn
East Penn Township, PA (10/6/20) - East Penn Township sued Synagro and owners of the Never Done Farm/Cunfer Farm in 2018 alleging that the company and farmers ignored township ordinance 77 regulating biosolids. In the two years that the case has worked its way to trial, both sides have asked Judge Serfass to decide the case in their favor. Synagro argues that Ordinance 77 is invalid because it violates Pennsylvania’s Solid Waste Management Act and the state’s Agriculture Communities Rural Environment Act.

Heartland Water Technology and Gruppo Pieralisi Announce Partnership for Biosolids Management in the United States
Hudson, MA (10/5/20) - Heartland Water Technology, Inc. and Gruppo Pieralisi recently announced a strategic partnership focused on advanced biosolids management, including municipal sludge, livestock manures, and digested solids, leveraging Pieralsi's direct-contact rotary drum dryer technology.

Centrisys/CNP Introduces New Name for Nutrient Recovery Technology
Kenosha, WI (10/5/20) - Centrisys/CNP Corporation, a manufacturer of decanter centrifuges and advanced biosolids treatment technologies, announced recently that it has parted from its Germany-based partner, CNP Cycles GmbH, and has introduced a new name for the nutrient recovery technology previously called AirPrex®. CNP – Technology Water and Biosolids Corp. (CNP’s) pioneering process for wastewater treatment plant biosolids optimization and phosphorus recovery is now called MagPrex™ in North American markets.

Tyco Donates $1.3M to City
Marinette, WI (10/9/20) - The Marinette’s City Council Tuesday voted to accept Tyco’s offer to provide the funds to buy equipment that will allow the city to more easily and effectively dispose of biosolids from its wastewater treatment facility. Tyco will continue to work with local government leaders and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to reduce the impact of PFAS in the community.

DEQ Seeks Community Participation in Developing IPDES Permitting and Compliance User’s Guide
Boise ID (10/11/20) - “The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) seeks community participation in developing the Idaho Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (IPDES) User’s Guide to Permitting and Compliance: Volume 6—Sewage Sludge and Biosolids (User’s Guide Volume 6).” This guide “will provide assistance for Idaho’s sewage sludge and biosolids preparers, applicators, owners or operators of surface disposal sites, and citizens to comply with DEQ administrative rules, Idaho Code, and the Clean Water Act, which govern the discharge of pollutants to waters of the United States in Idaho.”

City of Memphis, TN Awarded $156M WIFIA Loan
Memphis, TN (10/12/20) -The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a $156 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the City of Memphis, Tenn. that the city will use to expand biological treatment capacity and improve processing of biosolids at the T.E. Maxson Wastewater Treatment Facility. 

Texas Conference Highlights Growing PFAS, Environmental Justice Concerns
Austin, TX (10/14/20) - Speakers at the 2020 Texas Recycling and Composting Summit covered PFAS contamination concerns with the recycling of organics, including biosolids management.

Proposal to Apply Biosolids at Five Lewis County Sites Now Open to Public Review
Olympia, WA (10/14/20) - “Biosolids management company Fire Mountain Farms, Inc., is proposing to add five Lewis County sites to its statewide biosolids land application permit. The Washington Department of Ecology is making the proposal available to the public for review and comment through Dec. 2, 2020.”

Biosolids Abroad

Beneficial Use of Biosolids Planned for East Royalty Area
Charlottetown, PEI, Canada (10/16/20) - The City of Charlottetown intends to enhance the vegetative cover at the former East Royalty landfill with the application of the Exceptional Class A biosolids from the decommissioned East Royalty lagoon.

Iran Produces Fertilizer from Sewage Sludge
Kerman, Iran (10/7/20) - Researchers in Iran’s southeastern Kerman province conducted a survey on the environmental effects, on soil and plants, of compost and vermicompost produced from sewage.

An Australian-first as Council turn Poo into Power
Logan City, Queensland, Australia (10/1/20) - Loganholme Wastewater Treatment Plant is using gasification on its biosolids to produce a biogas which is then used to heat the remaining biosolids into a biochar. The material is used on agricultural land within the region and the city council is looking at ways to market it as a soil conditioner. This project was a partnership between the Logan City council, Pyrocal, and Downer. 
Logan City Turning Human Waste into Energy in Move to go Carbon Neutral within Two Years
Council’s ‘Game-Changing’ Sewage Treatment


TOPICS - Back to Nature with Biosolids

One effect of the Covid-19 pandemic is families heading “back to nature” in Philadelphia’s parkland, a pattern which I believe has been seen across the globe. Nature can ground us in our ancestral roots, as affirmed in the podcast of this past week’s On Being, an interview by Krista Tippett with environmental journalist Michael McCarthy: Nature, Joy, and Human Becoming .  McCarthy says we ought to “stop relying on the immobilizing language of statistics and take up our joy in nature as our defense of it.”  Human beings have lived as part of nature for 50,000 generations, but only 5 most recent generations have had humans disconnected from nature by urbanism.  Do we really need science to tell us that we need nature?

Cities and industrial agriculture have disconnected human beings from the very “facts of life” that make biosolids seem “natural.” I propose that we embrace “back to nature” as our theme for engaging the public, as we call for people to acknowledge the basic fact that their own “output” is “input” for others in the great circle of life.

Public engagement is an initiative of the Water Environment Federation as it create a “biosolids communications toolkit.” The toolkit project is an outgrowth of the Biosolids National Convening in 2019. The project is being fleshed out by the firm Raftelis, with involvement of the Residuals and Biosolids Committee.  The toolkit will offer templates for pamphlets, social media, bill stuffers, and flyers that can be used to convey biosolids information.

WEF has solid groundwork for this toolkit.  This was set by the 2016 Biosolids Messaging Book, and by two research reports of the Water Environment Research Foundation (available through IWA Publishing): Public Perception of Biosolids Recycling: Developing Public Participation and Earning Trust and A Strategic Risk Communications Process for Outreach and Dialogue on Biosolids Land Application. For communications training we can also take in a great webinar (Sharing the Biosolids Story with the Public) and check out this WEF conference presentations (e.g., Developing a Biosolids Strategy with the Community – A Modified Approach to Long-term Biosolids Planning at the Region of Waterloo).

To understand messages, we can go to the historic record of media coverage. 

Could “nature” be the principal theme for this toolkit?  Geologist David Montgomery makes the case  in his book Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life. He devotes Chapter 12 – Closing the Loop to the topic of returning human waste to soil, and we have Dr. Sally Brown and Tacoma to thank for Montgomery’s support.  He provides to biosolids recycling the context of history.  He shows that 150 years ago, the book The Natural Laws of Husbandry, by German chemist Justus von Liebig, had called for the  return of human and animal waste to restore fertility as the “experience of a thousand years.”  An influential book in soil science by Franklin H. King’, the 1911 book Farmers of Forty Centuries, shared the same message.  Both are available as reprints on Amazon for the wisdom they still offer us today.

“Back to Nature” is not just a call from the past.  It is an important “meme” for today’s world. This past week I came across two such relevant phrases: “Vulnerably reconnect with nature” was underscored by filmmaker John Chester, and “Nature-based technology” was advised by Dutch environmental professor Cees Buisman.

“Vulnerably reconnect with nature” is John Chester’s final message to listeners of his 2.3 hour long interview on the Rich Roll Podcast (Episode 373). I had interrupted my listening of this interview to watch Chester’s 90 minute, indie film documentary The Biggest Little Farm (2018). It is a wonderful movie about two city folks creating a “regenerative farm.” For me, the message was hard work, aligned with sound science, is transformational. The magic in the movie is the storytelling around nature’s response to science-based biodiversity and sustainable soil principles.

What is more, storytelling around soil health abounds.  Check out Sustainable (2017), Urban Farmers (2017), Living Soil: A Documentary for All of Us (2018), Regeneration: The Beginning (2019), Soil Solution (2019), Kiss the Ground Film (coming 2020). If you enjoy books, perhaps you gravitate to “Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Agriculture.”  But if you enjoy a more academic approach to the topic of soil health, you can go back and view the recent annual conference of the Soil Health Institute “Soil Health: The Foundation for Regenerative Agriculture,” held virtually July 30 and 31. Clearly, humanity hungers for soil health.

“Nature-based technology” is a key approach to “Conscious Innovation Strategy” offered by esteemed Dutch environmental sciences professor Cees Buisman in his extended essay “Humanity is not a Plague.” For Dr. Buisman, consciousness is a redirection of human values toward a global sharing of Earth’s resources, away from self-centeredness and individual greed and toward collective well-being and sustainability. From his viewpoint, municipal systems are a manifestation of a collective commitment to environmental stewardship, of which we should be proud advocates and spokespeople. Humanity hungers for collective actions for sustainability.

These “messages” on nature offer direction to those of us in biosolids.  Our wastewater treatment system is a nature-based technology producing biosolids, a material that encourages us to reconnect with nature in its land application. Yes, we can point to thousands of science journal articles and conference papers detailing the sharp edge of science and engineering, but it is the simple effectiveness of biosolids in nature that provides the compelling case.

Over the past three years, MABA has “clipped” from Google Alerts about 330 biosolids news items. Of all news clips, about a quarter were positive stories about benefits of public agencies producing and using biosolids. The themes of these media articles can be captured in this overview: “Biosolids recycling is a sustainable practice that returns nutrients to the farms, improves plant growth, restores degraded landscapes and reduces waste. Recycling helps the farmer, keeps costs down for the public agency and can provide citizens free soil products.” The central media message of biosolids jibes very well with the “Back to Nature.” But 70 articles over 5 years is not an impressive oeuvre for a nation with thousands of public facilities.

Restoring soils using organic amendments, in urban soils and in overused farmlands, is the starting point for the story of biosolids and soil health. This may seem self-evident, but apparently scientists know this message needs to be regularly revisited. The authors  of Soil Degradation: Will Humankind Ever Learn? express the urgent sentiment: “Two common factors—soil erosion and depletion of soil organic matter (SOM)—emerge as consistent indicators of how “the thin layer covering the planet that stands between us and starvation” is being degraded. Soil degradation is not a new problem but failing to acknowledge, mitigate, and remediate the multiple factors leading to it is no longer a viable option for humankind.” Carbon amendments are necessary for soil health: “Improvements in soil health, along with increase in availability of water and nutrients, increases soil's resilience against extreme climate events (e.g., drought, heat wave) and imparts disease‐suppressive attributes (see Soil health and carbon management .)

Biosolids is a worthy organic amendment for establishing soil health. Several scientists have tracked biosolids for decades.  Sally Brown, University of Washington, has been a consistent research voice for biosolids as an ingredient for healthy soils, is a lead author in Municipal biosolids — A resource for sustainable communities: “Research has shown their value for key components of urban greening including tree, turf, ornamental and vegetable growing, green stormwater infrastructure, and reduction in contaminant availability.” To the benefits of soil health, Dr. Brown adds carbon sequestration benefits, also a part of the “story.” In the paper Building Carbon Credits With Biosolids Recycling, Dr. Brown concludes, “the potential to sequester C, both in the soils and in plant biomass, is clear. If biosolids application for restoration increased soil C content by 2 percent, the credit would be 40 Mg C ha-1.”   Nicholas Basta, at The Ohio State University, is another strong voice: Application of organic amendments to restore degraded soil: effects on soil microbial properties: “In general, all organic amendments increased enzyme activities in 2009 with BioS [biosolids] treatments having the highest activity.” Greg Evanylo at Virginia Tech has dozens of biosolids journal articles, including this very recent one by his graduate students: Biosolids amendments improve an anthropogenically disturbed urban turfgrass system.

Although benefits of building soil health with biosolids have been clearly shown by these scientists, and although these benefits seem from our vantage point to far outweigh potential risks, we cannot afford to ignore risks seen by other scientists.  Microplastics, antibiotic resistant genes, “ecotoxic contaminants” and pathogens have been labeled as concerns. If we ignore these concerns, we imperil our ability to tell compellingly our story of biosolids and soil health. We need more investment in science.  Examples of  recent science journal articles for which we need answers are: Microplastics and pollutants in biosolids have contaminated agricultural soils: An analytical study and a proposal to cease the use of biosolids in farmlands and utilise them in sustainable bricks, Toxic potential of sewage sludge: Histopathological effects on soil and aquatic bioindicators, and How Valuable Are Organic Amendments as Tools for the Phytomanagement of Degraded Soils? The Knowns, Known Unknowns, and Unknowns.  .

Yet, we have had history and science on our side. Thirty years have passed since the first draft of Part 503 regulations, when a scientific community became engaged in assisting with use of sound science in regulating biosolids use. Since that time, over 200,000 peer reviewed biosolids research papers have been published globally.  When the Office of Inspector General released a two years ago a misguided critique of the status of biosolids research, the W4170 Research Committee again stepped up with its scientific case for recycling biosolids in “Response to the USEPA OIG Report No. 19-P-000.”

While scientists can support us with the facts of biosolids, we must become the storytellers. Michael McCarthy in the On Being podcast urged us to not substitute facts for the story. His book The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy has behind it a serious concern for the well-being of the global environment. But, even so, the NY Times Book Review can say of it, “Rather than the dire, dry statistical projections often heralded to make the case for conservation, he turns boldly to joy — to imagination and emotion.” And, we ought to be able to get children involved, as the Vox media's "first-ever week of video programming for kids" is doing with the The secret history of dirt, explained to kids, in which the story line is "dirt helped build civilization, only to get stabbed in the back by us."

In this same way, nature has the possibility of being the platform on which we tell the story of biosolids and its role in building soil health. We in the business of developing a communications toolkit ought to get Back to Nature with Biosolids. 


SPOTLIGHT October 2020 - Biosolids Innovators

This month’s SPOTLIGHT is on those individuals and, interestingly, families that emerged in our industry with ideas that have brought innovative technologies and programs to the biosolids industry globally. Importantly, they are continuing to do so, and we are all the better for it.

Chris Komline and Family -

Komline and Family picture

Chris Komline, a MABA Board member ([email protected](908) 234-1000, x321), explains, when asked how long he has been in the dewatering and drying industry, that he has been at work since 18 months old. This is confirmed by this photo of Chris in the arms of his father and company founder, Tom, who had the vision and talent to be a step ahead from the start.  “Komline-Sanderson was founded with a vision decades ahead of its time: Our first design was a resource recovery facility generating energy for the community. In 1946!”  The Komline-Sanderson Coilfilter was the patented dewatering device that led the industry for 30 years and which gave birth, too, to the K-S Plunger Pump, with a global deployment. In 1989, Komline-Sanderson installed its first dryer for biological sludges.  With continual improvements for automation and ease of operation, the company has installed over 65 systems around the globe. Komline-Sanderson is a privately owned business, and continues as a family affair, with brother Russell at the helm, and Brian, the next generation, directing sales.  

Ted Merrell and Family - 

Ted Merrell and Family

Ted Merrell, Vice President and Co-Owner ([email protected], 800-663-8830) writes that ”Biosolids for the Merrell Bros. company really is a family affair.  Our roots run deep in livestock production so dealing with nutrient-rich by-products has been, in a way, a necessary fact of life.”  Founded by brothers Ted and Terry Merrell, the company now employs over 130 people dedicated to the biosolids management business throughout the United States.  In addition to the two founding brothers, three sons, one daughter, and two sons-in-law are also on the company team.  The newest technology, the Solar Drying/Pasteurization system called FloridaGreen, was launched in 2018 in Pasco County, Florida, and is now producing a marketable Class A biosolids. The family sees the applicability of Ted’s design to many other parts of the country.   


Mike Nicholson and Family - 

Mike Nicholson and Family

Mike Nicholson, Senior Vice President of Technology for Denali Water Solutions. LLC, ([email protected], 419-636-6374) has been in the biosolids business since his teen years, when his father Pat carted him around the country, before the dawn of Part 503 standards, to introduce to the wastewater industry the possibility of advanced alkaline soil products made from biosolids. Pat had a huge influence on the course of national regulations and on the paths of his sons, Mike and Tim. Pat's idea was to deploy a variety of low or no-cost, high-pH dust residuals in place of conventional lime, mostly from the cement industry, to stabilize biosolids with heat of reaction, ammonia release, drying, and high pH. He was able to show that he could confer to soils a variety of benefits from the targeted use of ash, such attributes as potassium, sulfur, and magnesium, as well as soil-like consistency. In Pat's mission to shape a new industry, he touched many people, companies, scientists, and regulators. And today, his sons carry that legacy, with Tim working with service companies and residuals suppliers in the mid-West and Mike working with technology companies and utilities mostly, but not exclusively, in the East. 

The Bonkoskis - 

The BonkoskisNick Bonkoski, MABA Board Member ([email protected], 484-459-3762), is an Environmental Engineer from Penn State and lives in West Chester, PA.  Nick is a Domain Leader with SUEZ Water Technologies and Solutions, developing anaerobic solutions for municipal biosolids, food waste, and industrial projects across North and Latin America.  Nick had his start in the industry as a college intern with Zenon Environmental in 2002, when his dad Bill Bonkoski was managing Zenon’s Industrial Water Division, and 3 years later Nick went full time. During his 48-year career, Bill has worked for EPA, Dorr-Oliver, Paques, Zenon Environmental, GE Water, and others, always with an eye to innovative technologies. Bill is currently developing the anaerobic digestion market in the US for SUEZ, working side by side with Nick for the past 6 years. Bill is planning retirement after 48 years in the water industry, heading to the sandy beaches of Lewes, DE, and to nearby golf courses.  There he will enjoy visits with 9 grandkids, (3 supplied by Nick,) and will continue to prod Nick toward advancing new water technologies. 

Valentino Villa -  

Valentino Villa

Valentino Villa, Co-Founder and COO of Bioforcetech Corporation ([email protected], 650-906-0193), can be correctly labeled a "young professional," but that does not alter the big impact his dogged pursuit of his thermal technologies has had. He earned the status of “Perito Industriale Capotecnico per l’Elettronica e le Telecomunicazioni,” an Italian professional designation for an industry expert in the field of engineering that is recognized as an industrial engineer outside of Italy. Since co-founding Bioforcetech, he and his team have been rethinking every step of biosolids management to prepare for a carbon-free future. Bioforcetech's patented BioDryer leverages the microbial activity of biosolids to dry the material with little to no external energy sources. Once dried, the material is put through Bioforcetech's pyrolysis machine. There, the volume is reduced by 90% of the original wet volume, PFAS and PFOA are eliminated completely, and the carbon content is fixed as a biochar.  Valentino says “our biochar is a resource, which is why we are investing in research and development to expand the applications for biochar far beyond soil amendment.”  The result is a “deeply carbon negative” system. He is now living in California with his wife, Rebecca, and their three-year-old son, Leonardo. In his off time, you can find Valentino cooking, practicing martial arts, and adding new vintages to his wine collection. We are also expecting that Valentino will be showing his son, Leonardo, the ropes with pyrolysis, so that he will one day join his dad in the business. 


Symposiums & Presentations

2020 Summer Webinar Series

2019 Summer Symposium

2018 Annual Meeting & Symposium

2018 Summer Symposium

2017 Annual Meeting & Symposium

2017 Summer Symposium

2017 NJWEA Workshop

2016 Annual Meeting & Symposium

2016 Summer Symposium

2016 NJWEA Workshop