Following months of team preparation, practice, and anticipation, WEFTEC’s 2019 Operations Challenge culminated this afternoon following 2 days of spirited competition.

Division 1 Winners

  • First Place - Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association Elevated Ops
  • Second Place - Water Environment Association of Texas TRA CReWSers
  • Third Place - California Water Environment Association LA Wrecking Crew

Division 2 Winners

  • First Place - Water Environment Association of Texas North Texas Rangers
  • Second Place - Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association Double Duty
  • Third Place - Water Environment Association of South Carolina Lethal Concentration


Nearly four dozen teams participated in this year’s event, including international competitors from as far away as Denmark. While the competition was intense, all teams demonstrated a cooperative spirit. This spirit was clearly evident in the advice and training that the TRA CReWSers from the Water Environment Association of Texas and Sewer Rats from the Illinois Water Environment Association provided to the international visiting team, the Great Danes from Aarhus Vand Denmark.

Challenge activities began on Monday morning with team check-in and a pre-competition meeting prior to the Process Control and Laboratory events.

The Process Control Event, for example, challenged teams to answer multiple choice and short math questions across up to five operational scenarios. As part of the challenge, teams performed the necessary calculations to adjust operating conditions in a water resource recovery facility simulation to achieve target effluent parameters.

The subsequent Laboratory Event mandated that the teams perform actions like the analysis of total suspended solids of influent, primary effluent, aeration basins, secondary clarifier effluent, and final effluent.

Tuesday’s events turned even more dramatic, as teams displayed their skills in the Safety Event, Collection Systems Event, and KSB Maintenance Event, dealing with both hardware and techniques. 

The Safety Event required teams to deploy a portable manhole guard and use a winch to rescue a simulated victim from beneath the platform.

The Collection Systems Event included preparation of a repair section of pipe, installation of a compression fitting, and removal of the damaged section of pipe — all while dealing with flowing water.

Teams competing in the KSB Maintenance Event were required to close and lock out a 3-in. gate valve on a KSB submersible pump discharge unit, examine and replace fuses, assemble a Reid Gantry unit, and mount a trolley and chain hoist to extract the pump for service.

The early afternoon competition was intense, as several teams dashed into the maintenance competition area. All showed seriousness of purpose while supporters lined the competition arena to cheer and encourage competitors.

Shouts ranged from the constructive criticism of “Come on guys, let’s clean it up” when one gantry assembly process ended up getting tangled up with a dividing wall, to a time check as another team lowered the pump for inspection and repair.

“One minute, one minute,” shouted one team coach as he monitored the time while recording phone video of his team’s performance.



More to Come Soon

More details on the competition will be posted soon. The December issue of Water Environment & Technology magazine will contain full coverage of all of the stories surrounding Operations Challenge.

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