New details are emerging about the 2020 WEF Student Design Competition (SDC), which will be the first virtual design competition in the event’s 18-year history.

This new virtual SDC is slated to have 28 competing teams, only one less than last year’s in-person event. This year also will include competitors from more countries than ever — adding Costa Rica and Mexico this year in addition to participation from the United States, Canada, and Singapore.

The virtual SDC is improving the teams’ visibility by including in the competition a 20-minute video of their team’s design project. These videos will be hosted on WEF’s YouTube channel and promoted through various platforms. The winners and top projects will be promoted by WEF’s social media during WEFTEC Connect.

“We’re encouraging students to fully participate in WEFTEC Connect and maximize networking opportunities and general visibility,” said Brad Lovett, WEF Manager of Association Engagement and SDC staff liasion.

As in previous years, the competition will have two categories: Wastewater Design and Water Environment Design. The Wastewater Design Competition is intended to include, but is not limited to, traditional wastewater collection and treatment design projects, such as hydraulic capacity design, upgrades to existing treatment systems, biosolids handling, small-scale community wastewater treatment designs, and other related topics. The Water Environment Design Competition is intended to include design projects related to stormwater management, watershed management, green infrastructure, low impact development, water reuse, wetland construction, distributed treatment systems, groundwater treatment, and other related topics. Both categories follow the same guidelines and scoring system.

What’s new this year is that the competition will have two phases. In the first round, a panel of judges will evaluate the video presentations and determine the top four teams in each category. Then, the second phase will occur two weeks before WEFTEC Connect. These top 4 projects teams from each category will give live public presentations to a panel of judges, who will question them on their projects.

The second phase of the Water Environment Design competition is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2 to 4 p.m. EDT and the awards ceremony will be at 5 p.m. EDT. The second phase of the Wastewater Design Competition is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 24, 2 to 4 p.m. EDT and its awards ceremony will be at 5 p.m. EDT.

Student Design Competition Logo.jpg


WEF Student Design Competition Resources

Contact the Organizers
For further information on the 2020 competition, please consult the Student Design Competition webpage or reach out to

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