WEFTEC 2013 Operator Ingenuity Contest Wants More of Your Ingenious Fixes

May 9, 2013


At WEFTEC® 2012, the Operator Ingenuity Awards recognized simple, imaginative, inventive, and effective ways operators and managers found to overcome pesky problems.

This year, WEFTEC 2013 is seeking more creative, innovative, and straightforward solutions to the problems operators face every day. Often, the big solutions come from a tweak here or a little fix there.

Take a look at the 2012 winners below, and if you think you have an idea worthy of recognition, see www.weftec.org/ingenuity to submit your ideas by the May 31 deadline.

2012 set a high bar

Last year’s contest attracted more than two-dozen entries. The following six received awards:

  • Safety: A ladder extension pole that quickly attaches to the rungs inside the manhole — this device helps operators be safer and meet safety requirements.
  • Process control: A foot-operated sample collector to pump mixed liquor samples from beneath a foam-covered surface — this pump eliminated heavy lifting and contamination from passing the sample through the foam.
  • Maintenance: A polyvinyl chloride pipe cover for a pump’s lifting chain — by protecting the chain from being tangled with rags and other debris, the cover enables a chain follower to operate better when the pump has to be removed.
  • Work environment: Color-coded facility buildings — by painting each building a different color, operators beautified their facility and added a quick, easy way to help visitors and contractors navigate to the right spot.
  • Resourcefulness: Using compost heat to thaw sludge lines — winter temperatures froze the sludge lines leading into a temporary trailer-mounted dewatering unit; operators packed the frozen lines with finished compost that generated its own heat and kept the lines running free.
  • Walking the talk: Installing a stormwater filter — operators installed a stormwater best management practice to reduce the total suspended solids in the runoff leaving the facility’s yard.
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