News | October 12, 2017

TRA CReWSers, Aqua Techs Win 2017 Operations Challenge Competition

Texas teams take first place in 30th annual competition

Two teams from Texas clinched first place in their respective divisions during the 30th annual Operations Challenge competition. TRA CReWSers won Division 1, and Aqua Techs took home the top prize in Division 2. Both teams represent the Water Environment Association of Texas. The fun-filled, high-energy event took place at WEFTEC 2017—the Water Environment Federation’s 90th annual technical exhibition and conference—in Chicago. 

Members of the TRA CReWSers are: David Brown, Dale Burrow, Raudel Juarez, Quintin Winters, and Jake Burwell (coach). Members of Aqua Techs are: Edward Burrell (coach), Kevin Willey (captain), Ryan Brunette, Christian Mendez, and Ernesto Romero. 

One of the most anticipated events during WEFTEC, Operations Challenge is a unique and fast-paced test of the essential skills needed to operate and maintain wastewater treatment facilities, their collection systems, and laboratories—all vital to the protection of public health and the environment. This year’s competition included 44 hardworking teams from the U.S., Canada, and Argentina and Denmark. 

Over the past 30 years, Operations Challenge has steadily grown from the original 22-team event to this year’s 44-team, two-division format. Teams are judged on the best combination of precision, speed, and safety. The winners are determined by a weighted point system for five events including collection systems, laboratory, maintenance, safety, and process control. This year’s process control event was revised to include the installation of an Insetra Tee compression fitting, provided by Advanced Drainage Systems.

Winners in both divisions include: 

Division 1
First Place: TRA CReWSers
Water Environment Association of Texas
Trinity River Authority, Dallas, Texas 

Second Place: L.A. Wrecking Crew
California Water Environment Association
Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, Whittier, Calif.

Third Place: OCWA Jets
Water Environment Association of Ontario
Ontario Clean Water Agency, Stratford, Ontario

Division 2
First Place: Aqua Techs
Water Environment Association of Texas
Dallas Water Utilities, Dallas, Texas 

Second Place: Jamaica Sludge Hustlers
New York Water Environment Association
New York Department of Environmental Protection, Brooklyn, N.Y. 

Third Place: Controlled Chaos 
Water Environment Association of South Carolina
Mount Pleasant Waterworks, Mount Pleasant, S.C.

About WEF
The Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of 33,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. Since 1928, WEF and its members have protected public health and the environment. As a global water sector leader, our mission is to connect water professionals; enrich the expertise of water professionals; increase the awareness of the impact and value of water; and provide a platform for water sector innovation. For more information, visit

SOURCE: The Water Environment Federation