Texas Water hosts the ultimate showdown and a tough contender with an all-women team

May 28, 2024

Two more Operations Challenge events are in the books for 2024 – Florida Water Resources Conference and Texas Water. The Florida event was dominated by three teams taking the top spots in each event and who ultimately took the top spots overall. Bio-Wizards came in first with The Fecal Matter taking second and Dirty Birds of St. Pete rounding out the top three. Congratulations to these incredible competitors!

The very next week the Operations Challenge was back at it again with another competition at Texas Water. This Operations Challenge hosted a showdown between last year’s national event’s second and third place overall winners — North Texas Municipal Water District’s Centrifugal Force (second place) and Metro Water Recovery’s Elevated Ops (third place). These two teams are some of the best across the nation, so naturally, the Elevated Ops team came to compete against the best at Texas Water.

However, Centrifugal Force got the win and beat out Elevated Ops for first place overall this time, with Trinity River Water Authority’s River Guardians taking second overall and Elevated Ops landing in the third-place overall spot. Centrifugal Force was such a fierce competitor that they swept the competition and took the top spot in every event. This is only the second time in Texas Operations Challenge history for that to happen.

Texas Water also had three brand new teams competing in the challenge: Austin Water’s Basin Bandits, SAWS’ Flying SAWSers, and City of Houston’s Microbe Masters. The Texas Water competition determines who will represent Texas at WEFTEC, and several teams made the cut including:

  • North Texas Municipal Water District’s Centrifugal Force
  • Trinity River Water Authority’s River Guardians
  • Trinity River Water Authority’s TRAilblazers
  • Austin Water’s Basin Bandits
  • City of Houston’s Microbe Masters

We look forward to seeing these teams represent Texas at WEFTEC, and congratulations to the new teams, Basin Bandits and Microbe Masters, who will compete again at WEFTEC, another first for each of them.

So, not only did Texas Water have a showdown, but it also had a strong competitor in an all-woman team with the Trinity River Authority’s TRAilblazers. The TRAilblazers were fierce in the competition, making the podium at third place in three events: Laboratory, Safety, and Process, of which the Process event is the most difficult.

Another unique aspect of the Operations Challenge at Texas Water is the exhibition events that are unique to Texas and not included at the national events. These exhibition events include Electrical, Victaulic, and SEEPEX, which are not practiced ahead of time like some of the main events are. The exhibition event was dominated by the City of Surprise, Arizona’s Turdologists team who took the top spot in the Electrical and SEEPEX events and second place in the Victaulic event. Way to go to those teams!

There are two more conferences up next for the Operations Challenge — WEA of Utah Annual Meeting and WEA of Ontario Technical Symposium. We look forward to watching more teams compete and seeing who will rise to the top.

About the Author

Jeff Sober

Jeff Sober is director of water services for Garver and serves as the chair of the WEF Operations Challenge. Connect with Jeff on LinkedIn.

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