Submissions for the 2020 WEF Student Design Competition are due by June 5 at 8 p.m. eastern time. Further, the WEF Students and Young Professionals Committee, which hosts the competition, has made the choice to make the competition all virtual.

Because the coronavirus pandemic delayed many Member Association SDCs, the application deadline for the 19th annual Student Design Competition has been extended by one week until June 5 at 8 p.m. eastern time.

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The Student Design Competition also will be transitioning into an all virtual event. Details of the virtual competition are forthcoming and will be posted on the Student Design Competition webpage later this summer.

About the Competition
The WEF Student Design Competition is intended to promote “real world” design experience for students interested in pursuing an education and/or career in the water and wastewater fields. Students with interest in protecting public health and the environment through use of the sciences, engineering, or other degree programs are encouraged to participate. This competition tasks individuals or teams of student members within WEF to demonstrate their ability to evaluate alternatives, develop a comprehensive design, and present a solution that meets the requirements of a socially relevant problem statement.

The competition is split into two categories, the Wastewater Design Competition and the Water Environment Design Competition. Both competitions will follow the same guidelines and the same scoring system. The scope and extent of the project should be consistent with the level of a senior or graduate engineering/science design or capstone course.

  • The Wastewater Design Competition is intended to include, but is not limited to, traditional wastewater collection and treatment design projects. Examples include 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.

Teams must provide both a design report as well as oral presentation of the challenge addressed and the solutions proposed.

Due to the rapid growth in recent years, there will be a maximum occupancy of 34 teams allowed to compete this year. This means that no more than 17 teams will be permitted to compete in each competition category.

Past Participation and Winners
Last year, the University of British Columbia and University of Colorado emerged as winners of the 2019 Student Design Competition from among innovative ideas of 30 teams from 26 WEF Member Associations and three countries during WEFTEC 2019.

In 2018, 22 schools representing 20 Member Associations and 3 countries competed and the University of British Columbia and University of Colorado earned the top prizes.

Download a list of all of the Student Design Competition results from 2002 to 2018.

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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