Operations Challenge

The ultimate showcase of operational excellence in wastewater management

Operations Challenge is the water sector's best professional development program wrapped up in a competition.

OpsChallenge_Logo_800.jpgOperations Challenge competition is a showcase of excellence in wastewater treatment, where skilled teams of professionals compete in a series of timed events. These events simulate real-world challenges faced in the operation and maintenance of wastewater treatment facilities.

Through this competition, participants highlight the critical role of efficient and environmentally responsible wastewater management, fostering camaraderie and promoting best practices within the water sector.

team registration information    event schedule

  Team Resource Page  Archives


The competition is divided into three divisions based on teams' prior performances.

  • Division I - Returning teams that were in Division I the previous year. This also includes any returning team that competed in the previous year's Division II Competition and placed in the top three positions overall.
  • Division II - Returning teams who do not qualify for Division I. This also includes any returning team that competed in the previous year's Division III Competition and placed in the top three positions overall.
  • Division III - New teams whose members have never competed at WEFTEC for that utility. A team may compete in Division III for up to two consecutive years. If a member has previously competed at WEFTEC, but not for their current employer, their team is eligible to compete in Division III.

Event Details

The five events that make up Operations Challenge are the ultimate tests of wastewater treatment pros. From pump fixes to lab work, process control, safety checks, and collection system challenges, these events showcase the diverse skills needed for top-tier water sector talent.

Any questions about a specific event should be directed through that events page on the Team Resource Center

Collections Systems

Competitors simulate real-world scenarios by inspecting and maintaining sewer collection systems, highlighting their capacity to prevent and address potential issues in the wastewater network.


In this event, competitors demonstrate their laboratory skills by conducting a series of tests and analyses, ensuring the accurate monitoring and control of wastewater treatment processes.

Vaughan Maintenance

Teams race against the clock to restore a pump to service, testing their ability to swiftly service critical equipment, ensuring uninterrupted wastewater treatment operations.

Process Control

Teams showcase their ability to optimize wastewater treatment processes through precise control and adjustment, emphasizing efficiency and environmental stewardship.


Safety takes the forefront as teams demonstrate their knowledge and adherence to rigorous safety protocols, ensuring the well-being of both workers and the environment.


A huge team of dedicated volunteers plays a vital role in Operations Challenge.  They offer their time, expertise, and passion to manage logistics, provide valuable support, and serve as judges.

Team Resource Page

The Operations Challenge Team Resource page, hosted by the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association includes the most up-to-date event descriptions and event frequently asked questions.

Visit the Resource Center


Watch Operations Challenge

Discover a wealth of valuable resources and exciting highlights from past years, including event tutorials, interviews, and live-streamed award ceremonies.

Access the most recent award ceremony on Facebook (no account is needed to view). 

Open the Operations Challenge Playlist

Operations Challenge History

Find out the full history of Operations Challenge. Since the event's inception in 1988, WEF's magazines have chronicled the details of each competition.

See a full list of Division I winners for the entire competition and download a full PDF of each year's coverage.

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Read Operations Challenge History

Support Operations Challenge

Find out how to volunteer for the competition and download custom email signatures to show your Operations Challenge pride.

Learn How to Participate


97th Annual
Technical Exhibition & Conference

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
New Orleans, Louisiana USA

Conference: October 5 - 9, 2024
Exhibition: October 7 - 9, 2024