Great Lakes Water Infrastructure Conference header



You are invited to participate as a presenter at the Great Lakes Water Infrastructure Conference in Novi, Michigan, on April 28-30, 2020.

The communities of the Great Lakes Basin face critical water infrastructure needs for rehabilitation and replacement. Shifting population patterns and the need for preparedness against man-made and natural threats place increasing demands on drinking water and wastewater utilities. 

The Great Lakes Water Infrastructure Conference, a first-of-its-kind regional conference hosted by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), will identify the water infrastructure challenges faced by the Great Lakes region and discuss solutions to those challenges. Key topics will include funding and finance mechanisms, water affordability, environmental health, water infrastructure planning and reinvestment, innovative water quality solutions, green infrastructure techniques, cybersecurity strategy, and communications practices.

 Who will attend the Great Lakes Water Infrastructure Conference?

Municipal and Regional Government Officials Water Utility Managers/Directors Emergency Response Personnel | Collection, and Distribution Systems Decision Makers | Computer/Process Control Systems Professionals Operations and Maintenance Personnel Scientists Product and Service Providers Technical Practice Leaders Project Managers and Engineers | Treatment Plant Operations Consultants | Pipeline Rehabilitation Consultants | Water Advocacy Organizations | Security, Emergency and Cybersecurity Specialists and Advisors | Environmental and Community Groups | Anyone interested in water infrastructure in the Great Lakes region





  • Expert speakers from around the country.
  • Networking opportunities.
  • Exhibitors of innovative technology.
  • Opportunity for conversations with federal, state, and local officials.
  • Up to eight concurrent tracks.


Submit Abstract





Abstract Submission Guidelines (Printable Submission Guidelines)

Interested presenters are invited to submit one or more abstracts for oral presentation.

  • Abstract submission deadline is SEPTEMBER 6, 2019.
  • Abstract Title: Limited to 12 words.
  • Abstract Length: Limited to 500 words.
  • Presenting Author Biography: Limited to 150 words.

Presentations should be at least 30 minutes, and not more than 45 minutes, in length.  Longer presentations should be submitted as two separate presentations of equal length (e.g., Part 1 and Part 2).

Conference sessions will include topic areas (tracks) as shown below.  Please review the topics to consider the category where your presentation would best fit.  Authors may suggest additional topics that are not on the list, but they must fit a general topic area related to drinking water, stormwater or wastewater infrastructure.

LCD projectors/laptops will be provided for oral presentations, and panel sessions can be accommodated with multiple microphones.  Acceptable presentation formats are PowerPoint (.ppt) or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf).  Presenters will be instructed on how to submit their presentation files, embedded video, and audio clips before the conference begins on April 28, 2020.  Presentations will, upon approval, be posted online for viewing after the conference.  There will be no written presentations or formal proceedings.

Presenters may not use their conference presentation to market products or services and should use product-based or generic names wherever possible.

Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified by October 11, 2019.  Presenters of accepted abstracts will receive a discounted conference registration rate (one per abstract).  There will be space for more than 80 speakers to address the topic areas described below. 

Session Topics

Funding and Finance – sessions will focus on how to assess, pay for, and sustain water infrastructure.

  • Asset inventories
  • Asset management return on investment – level of service
  • Water affordability
  • Appropriate rate structures
  • Innovative financing strategies
    • Municipal bonds, green bonds, environmental impact bonds
    • Private-public partnerships
  • System consolidation
  • How to pay for it and how to sustain it
  • Success stories
    • Collaborative projects – funding different asset class projects concurrently (road, wastewater, stormwater, water, green infrastructure, communication utilities)

Water Quality Issues, Risks, and Innovative Solutions – sessions will focus on how we think long term about emerging contaminants and changing source water quality, changes to rate structures/ funding/ asset management planning to reflect these changes, as well as innovative solutions. Sessions may address:

  • PFAS/Other emerging contaminants and innovative technologies to address
  • Great Lakes – a changing source water
  • How does climate change affect water infrastructure planning
  • How do population dynamics impact water infrastructure planning/investment
  • Innovative drinking water technologies and approaches
  • Innovative wastewater technologies and approaches, including green infrastructure and utility of the future concepts (resource recovery, energy efficiency, etc.)

Water Communication – focus on how to improve both proactive and reactive communications related to drinking water and wastewater needs and issues.

  • Telling your water infrastructure story to increase support for funding (eg, using the term "system owners" vs "system users.")
  • Risk communication
  • Responding to crisis
  • How to combat social media and misinformation
  • Water literacy and public education
  • Success stories

Water Sector Security – focus on best practices and strategies for addressing cyber threats for water and wastewater IT infrastructure.

  • Cyber security strategies
  • Risk and vulnerability assessments
  • Exercise case studies
  • Prioritizing risk and solutions
  • Challenges to managing cyber security
  • Benefits of a cyber security program
  • Next steps

Other – Abstracts that may not fit into one of the above categories, but are innovative and pertinent to the operation, maintenance, or management of water infrastructure, will be accepted under this category.


To submit an abstract, please complete the Abstract Submission Form at


Submit Abstract



Abstract submission topics and content: Jim Ostrowski at or Matt Tomlinson at

Abstract submission process: Contact Alana Berthold at

Conference venue and logistics: Contact Matt Tomlinson at