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E-Splash November 2012 - TopOPs
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Illinois Section AWWA - E-Splash -  November  2012


The Kazoos Are Gone, But TOP-OPS Carries On
Larry Thomas, TOP-Ops Committee Chair

Top Ops is looking for a few good men and women to compete in the 2013 Top-Ops Contest.

Last year, teams sponsored by Elgin, Lake Forest, and Summit vied for the traveling (not so much) trophy, with Elgin taking the top honors. As you know, we tried out new rules last year to help make this a contest based on knowledge rather than speed. The contest went well, so we're going to do it pretty much the same way with a few enhancements to make it even more enjoyable for the audience

Top-Ops is a contest between teams of water treatment operators. Questions asked of the contestants encompass all aspects of water supply, treatment, and distribution, and are comparable to those on the water operator certification exam. A moderator poses a variety of multiple choice questions to the panel of teams each of which attempts to respond correctly using a white board to write the letter corresponding to their response. Each team that presents a correct answer scores a point. If the answer is wrong, they lose a point. The rules are easy, the questions may not be.

Teams can consist of one, two, or three operators. Here's the big thing: the operators on a team do not have to be from the same utility. You can put a team together representing a utility, a county, a local operators' association, or a bowling team.

In order to compete in Springfield, operators do not need to be members of AWWA. They do need to work full time as a water treatment plant employee, a water distribution system employee, or as a first-line supervisor. Engineers, upper-level supervisors who do not work as a day-to-day operator are precluded from participating as an official team. (We will allow some "spring training” teams under some circumstances, but those teams are not officially entered and are not allowed to win.)

ISAWWA Conference registration is complimentary for participants for the day of the competition (Tuesday). ISAWWA will also provide one room night accommodation for the contestants during the conference with double occupancy. Additionally, the Illinois Section will assist with travel costs for the winning team to compete at the AWWA conference.

Please consider putting a team together for this coming WaterCon. After all, if you win, your team may be awarded some of last year's Grand Opening kazoos!  Here is the form to complete to submit  your team!

Oh, by the way, if you're looking for me, I've moved. You'll find me at Stanley Consultants in Chicago. Write me at or call 815-355-0923 if you have any questions.


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