Jun 27, 2017 1:48 PM

Ops Challenge Events

Written by Water Environment Association of Ontario


Operations Challenge Competition Events


  • Collection Event

    • The Collection System Event simulates connecting a 4-inch PVC lateral sewer to an existing 8inch PVC sewer pipe while in service along with the programming of an automatic sampler. The event starts with a small-leak in a PVC pipe that represents an in-service pipe (wet pipe). Another section of dry pipe must be used to make repairs on the leaking wet pipe. During the challenge, competing teams have to cut and remove a measured length of pipe from both the wet and the dry PVC pipes. The section cut from the dry pipe will include an Inserta Tee™ and will be used to replace the section removed from the wet pipe. The teams will then have to secure the connection with flexible repair couplings and hose clamps. What makes this challenge most interesting and a crowd favorite is that it has to be completed under live (or wet) conditions; i.e., while water is running in the pipe. After each team has completed the challenge, judges will perform a pressure test to determine if the connections made are water tight.

      If that’s not enough of a workout, competitors must also program an automatic wastewater sampler and ensure that it is working properly.

      Can you imagine all of the above tasks completed in less than 2 minutes? Now that’s a challenge!

      For more information on the Collection Event and all associated rules, please contact Paul Howard at phoward@london.ca                  Event Rules:  Link to follow soon

  • Lab Event

    • In the lab event, operators are required to perform testing on wastewater samples and to use the results to calculate required operational process needs. Teams work together, using established laboratory methods and instrumentation to measure parameters critical to the wastewater process. In previous years, test events have included measuring E. coli and BOD. Currently, the participants perform analyses for ammonia and alkalinity. Calculations are performed on the obtained results to determine if the process has enough alkalinity to nitrify the ammonia present in the wastewater. There is also a short quiz designed to test the operator’s ability to translate the results into effective operational process changes.

      Teams compete to finish the test as quickly as possible while ensuring that all method steps are completed accurately in accordance with the written method. Time penalties are incurred for infractions such as missed method steps, poor lab practices and not following safety procedures. There are five judges, each of whom is assigned a list of different infractions to watch for. Time stops when the team has cleaned the laboratory work area, handed in their quiz and worksheets and stepped out of the competition area.

      All teams have their own strategy for competing in the lab event. To be successful, it is necessary for each team member to be well versed in the specific tasks that they will be performing and have the procedures memorized. The most important key to obtaining a good score is practicing and working together as a team.

      For more information on the Lab Event and all associated rules, please contact Krista Thomas at kthomas@peterborough.ca                       Event Rules:  Link to follow soon!


  • Maintenance (Pump) Event

    • The purpose of this event is to test the skills of a maintenance/operating team to respond to a severe weather condition resulting in a lift station pumping outage. A Godwin Dri-Prime® model NC80 4” X 3” diesel-driven sewage-handling trailer-mounted pump set, featuring the Flygt style “N” impeller (non-clog), will be used to respond to the need for an emergency back-up pump at the lift station. The maintenance portion of the challenge is focused on the routine maintenance and operation of the Godwin NC80 pump in preparation for use at the lift station, transportation and installation at the lift station, including programming for emergency use.

      (*) The NC80 pump discharge has been increased to 4” to maximize the flow potential of the NC80 pump.


      An extreme weather event has created concern regarding the reliability of a critical duplex lift station. In addition, Pump 1 at the duplex lift station has shut down due to excessive vibration. Pump 2 is still operating properly, but the decision has been made to place the Godwin DriPrime® pump at the station as a back up to Pump 2, therefore allowing the lift station to operate during the extreme weather or in the event that Pump 1 is removed and repaired. The Godwin Dri-Prime® NC80 pump will be connected to the lift station and will be operated via a level transducer in the lift station inlet manhole in the event of a failure to pump 2. Prior to positioning the Dri-Prime® pump at the station, routine maintenance must be performed on the NC80 4” x 3” pump to ensure proper operation while in service at the lift station.

      The challenge will consist of performing routine maintenance on the Dri-Prime® pump, positioning it at the lift station, and installing suction and discharge hoses from the pump to the lift station inlet manhole and flanged force main tie-in gate valve. A level controller will be connected to the Godwin NC80 Dri-Prime® pump to allow for unattended operation (starting and stopping).

      For more information on the Pump Maintenance Event and all the associated rules, please contact Jeff Johnson at jeff@aslroteq.com                                 Event Rules:  Link to follow soon!

  • Process Event

    • The Process Control event comprises of two components – a “written exam” challenge, and a “process simulation” challenge. The purpose of this event is to distinguish the relative process control skills of competing teams so that points can be awarded proportionately. In an ideal world, this would consist of each team standing before a panel of judges and reciting all their wastewater knowledge and answering questions from judges. In the context of the Operations Challenge, this is not practical, so a timed written exam and a timed simulation test are used.

      Unlike other challenges, it is not expected that all teams complete the entire challenge, whether it finish answering all questions or tackle every simulation challenge. The goal of this event is to see who can answer the most questions with the fewest mistakes. Teams are given the opportunity to provide as many correct answers as they can in a certain allowed period of time (20 minutes for the written exam and 15 minutes for the simulation challenge). The written exam and the process simulations are designed to be long enough so that teams do not run out of questions to answer or tasks to achieve.

      Regarding the written exam, the types of questions and their difficulty level are roughly matched to the points awarded for getting the correct answer. Since the written exam component is designed to include different types of questions (simple multiple choice questions, math questions, complex scenario questions), solving the more complex questions will be worth more than the simpler multiple choice questions. It is then up to each team to develop a strategy to figure out which questions to answer in the time allotted to achieve the highest final score.

      For more information on the Process Control Event (written exam and/or simulation component) and all associated rules, please contact Hany G. Jadaa at lexicon@ca.inter.net Link to the Simulator    Event Rules:  Link to follow soon!

  • Safety Event

    • The Safety Event involves a co-worker overcome by an unknown gas or lack of oxygen due to a worn 4-inch check valve gasket. The team has to rescue an unconscious co-worker from the confined space in a safe and swift manner. To make the confined space safe, two gate valves will need to be closed in order to replace the check valve flapper and gasket.

      Lock-out/tag-out procedures must be performed in an orderly way to ensure that the victim and rescuers all come out of the confined space safely. With the proper coordination and use of a manhole retrieval unit , life line ropes, a ladder and tools, the team that works swiftly together with the least amount of penalties will come out on top.

      For more information on the Safety Event and all the associated rules, please contact Barry Hughes at barry.hughes@durham.ca         Event Rules:  Link to follow soon!

  • PWO Technical Session and Tour

    • The requirement for continuous learning and professional development in the wastewater industry is the focus of the PWO Technical Session and Tour. Sessions involving current issues will be presented and a tour of a local facility related to the wastewater field is offered for conference participants.

  • Totally Wasted Game Show (TWGS)

    • Fashioned after a popular television game show, the TWGS quizzes contestants with questions comparable to those found on Provincial Certification exams. The TWGS is both educational and entertaining as teams (comprised of a consultant, OPCEA supplier & professional operator) compete for top honours.


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