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RMSAWWA/RMWEA Conference - Ops Challenge by Adele Rucker

18 Sep 2017 10:54 PM | Natalie Love (Administrator)


I attended the RMSAWWA Conference this year in Loveland, CO. There were several different tracts for attendees to learn about the latest techniques, technologies, regulation changes, and equipment for the water industry. Before the afternoon sessions began I had the opportunity to watch the Operations Challenge. Coming from a drinking water laboratory we do not get the chance to participate in such fun activities.


There were four teams participating: Commode Commandos, Sewerside Squad, Elevated Ops, and Heroic Hites. This particular challenge simulated a break in a line and the challenge was to see which team could successfully repair the break in the shortest time.

Challenge set-up: the background pipe was the one with the “break”, the foreground pipe was used to cut a section for insertion into the broken pipe.

There were a quite a few steps involved in the repair that I have simplified here mostly because of a lack of knowledge of the details. First, the area where the cuts were to be made was measured and marked.



Measure twice, cut once!

One crew of the team sawed through the pipe with a hand saw (no power tools were used) and the piece of pipe with the leak was removed. At the same time, another crew sawed the new pipe which was to replace the broken piece.

Next, the new piece of pipe was inserted where the break had been removed. The repair was secured with couplers and ring clamps. The final step was clean up, putting away all of the tools back in the tool box. The time was stopped when the entire crew was back in place behind the starting line.


As with any competition and teams that have practiced together for a while, they made it look very easy. The teams worked well together and encouraged each other even when they hit snags and speed bumps. The times for the teams to complete the challenge ranged from 2-3 minutes.

After watching this challenge I have a new appreciation for our dedicated utility workers who keep everything flowing and flushing as it should.

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