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Posted on: October 2, 2023

WRA Represents Iowa for First Time in WEFTEC Ops Challenge

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Meet the WRA Reclaimers, the first team of wastewater operators to represent the State of Iowa at WEFTEC's Operations challenge this year in Chicago.

The 18 member communities in the Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority (WRA) are served by an extremely talented group of professionals who keep our rivers, lakes and streams cleaner by treating wastewater with the best technology and latest methods.

Now, those dedicated employees will have the chance to prove themselves among the best in the water quality field.

The Des Moines WRA Reclaimers are the first Iowan team ever to compete in the Operations Challenge at the Water Environment Federation's Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC).

Wastewater Training Specialist Tim Runde says the team has spent several hours preparing in recent weeks in order to make a strong debut in Chicago, where the 96th Annual WEFTEC is being held this week.

"We spent a lot of time putting things together to train with set-ups that are very similar to those in the Operations Challenge," Runde said. "It's really been a group effort and I couldn't be prouder of this team."

Teams will compete to earn the highest score in five different events: Collections systems, laboratory, process control, maintenance and safety. Each event is designed to test the diverse skills required for the operation and maintenance of water resource recovery facilities, collection systems, and laboratories.

"This may be a simulated competition, but these are the professionals that work hard every day to ensure that the water entering our rivers is cleaner and safer for residents," said WRA Director Scott Hutchens. "Regardless of how well they perform at WEFTEC, residents can rest assured that they really are the best at what they do."

WEFTEC will be live-streaming parts of the conference on their Facebook page.

Learn more about the WEFTEC and the Operations Challenge on their website.