NTMWD Operations Challenge Team Wins Big at Annual Texas Water Conference

After two years of no in-person competition due to the global pandemic, the NTMWD team Centrifugal Force sweep this year’s Water Environment Association of Texas (WEAT) Operations Challenge held at Texas Water 2022 and take home the coveted Utility Management Trophy. This means they are headed to WEFTEC2022 – the world’s largest annual water quality technical conference – in October to compete nationally and represent the state along with four other Texas teams.

The Operations Challenge competition is designed to bring together wastewater collection and treatment professionals to demonstrate their skills in five major categories: collection systems, laboratory, process control, maintenance, and safety. NTMWD had a historic performance by being the first team ever to earn top scores in four of the five events – winning Process Control, Laboratory, Maintenance and Collection Systems.

The dedication and diligence of the NTMWD team includes the following from South Mesquite Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant: Plant Supervisor Jeremy Thompson, the Plant Chief Operator Zachary Jackson, Lead Operator Joshua Deaver, Operator III Caeleb Butler, and from Engineering:  Construction Inspector Chris Legg. Together they exemplify the values at the core of NTMWD operations – Integrity, Trust, Respect, Unity, Safety, and Teamwork. Teams from various utilities across the state competed in events reflecting real-world scenarios with scores based on a combination of time and precision execution to perform the task safely and in alignment with accepted protocols.

The Laboratory event called for teams to perform actions like the analysis of total suspended solids of influent, primary effluent, aeration basins, secondary clarifier effluent, and final effluent.

The Maintenance event required teams to respond to a pump station alarm at a hypothetical treatment facility. The teams had to troubleshoot the issue, perform maintenance on the submersible pump equipment, and ultimately restore the facility back to its normal operation.

The Collection Systems event, teams must bisect a stretch of PVC pipe to remove a leak, replace it with a new piece of pipe and program an autosampler.  Then the repaired pipe is filled with water to check the fix will hold under pressure without leaking for a period of time.

The Safety Event had teams deploy a portable manhole guard and use a winch to rescue a simulated victim from beneath the platform.

The Process Control event tests the team’s mathematical aptitude and familiarity with wastewater treatment processes consisting of both written and electronic portions, including using a specialized wastewater treatment process simulator to visualize real-world problem scenarios and make real-time decisions to fix them.

The Safety Event had teams deploy a portable manhole guard and use a winch to rescue a simulated victim from beneath the platform.

Due to their overall score in the competition, the NTMWD Centrifugal Force team also earned the extraordinary distinction of bringing the Utility Management Trophy home; defeating the Trinity River Authority team who has held the trophy for 23 consecutive years.

The overall Texas Water 2022 conference provides extensive educational opportunities and access to cutting-edge technologies and services in the water and wastewater industries. Participation in industry conferences as valuable at Texas Water speak directly to NTMWD’s Strategic Goal of building and retaining a talented, competent and committed team.