Student Design Competition


2020 WEAO Student Design Competition Winners - University of Guelph (ALMR)

About the Student Design Competition

The Student Design Competition (SDC) is an annual challenge that provides an opportunity for student teams to apply their knowledge to a current real world problem.

Since 2014, the Water Environment Association of Ontario (WEAO) has collaborated with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks to use the SDC to promote emerging topics within the water industry such as resource recovery and sustainable infrastructure.  The competition is supported by a municipality that provides a current and relevant problem.

The winner of the WEAO SDC will receive financial support from WEAO to compete at the Water Environment Federation’s (WEF) annual SDC at the WEF Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) in Chicago, Illinois on October 17, 2021. With over 25,000 attendees, this is the world’s largest water quality event. 

Student teams representing WEAO have consistently had strong showings at the international WEFTEC competition. In 2017, a team from the University of Guelph placed first at the WEAO SDC and continued on to place first at the WEFTEC’17 SDC with their Stormwater Management Feasibility Study.     


The 2021 Project Scope

The topic of the 2020-21 WEAO SDC is hosted in partnership with the Region of Niagara, with a focus on combined sewer overflows and bypasses that occur at wastewater treatment plants and collection systems during wet weather events. Combined sewers are designed to convey both wastewater and stormwater to a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), and can result in the discharge of untreated or partially treated sewage into a water body when the volumes of wastewater and stormwater overwhelm collection and treatment systems.

The goal of this project is to reduce overflows and bypasses within the Port Dalhousie WWTP and collection system that are caused or exacerbated by wet weather events. Phase I proposals will provide recommendations to reduce overflows and bypasses from the WWTP. Phase II proposals will provide recommendations for collection system improvements that reduce the risk of overflows/bypasses in the Port Dalhousie WWTP and overflows in the collection system.

The SDC is open to all full-time university students in Ontario.  Professors and students who are interested in learning more about the SDC should contact with questions or to be put on our mailing list.

Registration for the 2020-21 SDC closes on October 1st, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.


To view the Scope of the 2021 project, click here

To view the Competition Guidelines, click here

To complete the fillable PDF entry form, click here


Previous SDC Projects:

2020 Innovative Stormwater Management - City of Richmond Hill 

2019 Optimization of Energy and Nutrient Recovery from Wastewater - Chatham-Kent PUC

2018 Innovative, Cost-Effective Solutions to Reducing Phosphorous Loadings - City of London

2017 Innovative Stormwater Management - City of Toronto

2016 Resource Recovery at the York-Durham Duffin Creek Water Pollution Control Plant - The Regional Municipality of Durham

2015 Nutrient Recovery and Process Improvements at the Ashbridges Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant - City of Toronto

2014 Upgrade of the Colony Trail Storm Water Management Pond and Expansion of Storm Water Management in the East Holland Subwatershed - Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority

2013 Expansion of Newcastle Water Pollution Control Plant - The Regional Municipality of Durham

2012 Expansion of Port Dover Water Pollution Control Plant - Norfolk County

2011 Expansion of the Acton Wastewater Treatment Plant - The Regional Municipality of Halton


Thank you to all of our partners who have offered their time and resources to host the WEAO Student Design Competition:

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