TRA CReWSers and Aqua Techs win the 2017 Operations Challenge competition

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

David Brown, Dale Burrow, Raudel Juarez, Quintin Winters, and Jake Burwell, the coach, made up TRA CReWSers are. On the other hand, Aqua Techs consisted of Edward Burrell, the coach, captain Kevin Willey, 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 teams from the U.S., Canada, Argentina, and Denmark.

Over the past three decades, the 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, U.S.


Second Place: L.A. Wrecking Crew

California Water Environment Association

Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, Whittier, California, U.S.


Third Place: OCWA Jets

Water Environment Association of Ontario

Ontario Clean Water Agency, Stratford, Ontario, Canada


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, New York, U.S.


Third Place: Controlled Chaos 

Water Environment Association of South Carolina

Mount Pleasant Waterworks, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, U.S.