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About FWQA

The Federal Water Quality Association

Our History

In 1928, a small group of Public Health Service Officers met in a cramped meeting room in the Taft Federal Building in Cincinnati, Ohio to form the Federal Sewage Research Board. The purpose of the Board was to promote research in sewage treatment, evaluate new technologies, and to provide technical information and assistance to Federal Agencies, municipalities, and consulting firms. In 1930 the Board applied for, and was chartered by the Water Environment Federation as the Federal Sewage Research Association, making it the third oldest Member Association of the Federation. The new Association elected H.W. Streeter as it's first president.

From the original 20 members in 1930, the Association grew steadily and reached a peak membership of 510 in 1972. In order to reflect a wider environmental vision, the name was changed to the Federal Water Quality Association (FWQA) in 1961. While the programs of the FWQA have changed over the years, the general goals of education and outreach have not. For over 50 years the Association has been making water quality and other environmental issues more understandable for its current and future members. Although a significant portion of the membership is from the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan area, the FWQA has programs of interest to members from diverse organizations and broad geographic regions.

The 5S Society

The Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers, or 5S, was formed in 1940 to provide recognition to members of a [WEF Member] Association who make outstanding contributions to its affairs, above and beyond the call of duty and who may not receive other awards or serve the Association as an officer. The local 5S chapter of FWQA was founded in 1986.
Read more about FWQAs 5S Society (updated in 2019) .

5S award to Jan Goodwin and Christian Davies-Venn April 2008
5S award to Jan Goodwin and Christian Davies-Venn April 2008

FWQAs Programs

Monthly luncheon meetings are a central activity of the FWQA program. Each year (September to May) the Association sponsors a series of luncheons on water quality and environmental issues, with guest speakers from government, associations, and the private sector. You can view the list of recent speakers and download presentations from our Events page.

The FWQA also tries to sponsor and Embassy Events. In recent years we have co-hosted events with the Embassies of Canada, Mexico and Sweden. Each has focused on an interesting environmental theme. These events enable us to appreciate bi-national and international water resource issues, and to meet with colleagues from other nations in a different cultural setting.

Another important activity of FWQA is its scholarship program. Each year the Association presents scholarships to local area high school seniors who have demonstrated an environmental awareness through their school or community involvement, and are planning to pursue further environmental studies. The three scholarships awarded are the

  • Gordon McCallum Scholarship
  • Harvey Olem Scholarship
  • Richard Barber Scholarship

In addition to the scholarship awards, the FWQA supports local science fairs. Each spring FWQA members judge environmental projects at high school science fairs in the greater Washington DC area, and U.S. Savings Bonds are awarded to first place winners.

The May luncheon serves as an Awards Luncheon where the FWQA honors the scholarship and science fair winners and sponsors. This event is usually held at the National Press Club, and many of the high school student winners attend with their parents and/or teachers as guests of the Association.

There are many ways to get involved in FWQA activities. One can be a scholarship sponsor and play golf, judge science fairs, review scholarship applications and get involved in many other ways. Please feel free to contact any of our Board members to discuss FWQA and how you can get involved.