Welcome to the RMWQAA Website! 

Ops Challenge: What is it, why do they do it?

29 Sep 2022 8:41 PM | Natalie Love (Administrator)

The Operations (Ops) challenge is a competition, organized by WEF, the Water Environment Federation, where teams of wastewater collection and treatment professionals compete and display their skills. 

In the competition, teams compete to earn the highest score in five different events. Each team includes four members and often a coach as well. Each event is designed to test the diverse skills required for the operation and maintenance of water resource recovery facilities, collection systems, and laboratories. The five events are collections systems, laboratory, process control, maintenance, and safety.

Safety Event

The top three teams from the regional competition advance to the national competition in October each year.  This year, I had the opportunity to judge the laboratory event for the regional ops challenge competition.  The competition is intense and fun.

Collections Event

In the laboratory event, teams conduct simulated laboratory analyses such as TSS and conductivity, using standard laboratory practices and procedures.  The event is timed and the team with the best score after deductions for errors is the winner.  There are winners for individual categories and event scores are combined to determine an overall event winner.

Laboratory Event

Why participate?  The event fosters cross training, professional development, leadership, and teamwork.  Improve old skills, learn new skills, and prepare for the unexpected that is a win, win situation, so…why are there only four teams for the entire Denver Metro Area?

I wondered so I asked, “Why don’t more teams participate?”  There is a big time commitment, year round.  Teams have to practice regularly and oftentimes team members are working different shifts which makes meeting as a team for practice a challenge.  Team members still have to work, keep up with certifications and training units, take care of responsibilities outside of work, and rest.  It is just not feasible for many workers. 

I appreciate the efforts that contributed to the experience I had as a judge and hope the best for all the teams competing at the national competition in New Orleans this year.

Excerpts taken from Water Environment Federation, WEF, www.wef.org

Adele Rucker is the RMWQAA President and an Analytical Chemist in South Platte Renew’s Laboratory. 

© Rocky Mountain Water Quality Analysts Association
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software