Putting Wastewater and Environmental Designs to the Test

Students present new wastewater and environmental designs at the WEF Student Design Competition.

The Student Design Competition (SDC) begins at the Member Association (MA) level. Each MA is encouraged to develop their own Student Design Competition based on a chosen design problem or allow student teams to bring problems they are currently working on.

The winner of an MA competition will be invited to compete at WEFTEC in the coming year. If only one school is willing to participate within the MA, that team may compete at WEFTEC assuming they meet the 2020 guidlines. A summary of changes to the 2020 SDC is also available for quick reference.

WEF also understands that many Member Associations are moving their Design Competitions to a digital format. With these changes in mind, the Student Design Compeition Subcommittee has thoughts, recommendations and timeline reminders for WEF MAs.

Register/Submit 2020 Entry Materials

Due to coronavirus delaying many Member Association SDCs, we are extending the hard deadline for student team submissions by one week.

While we would still prefer to recieve submissions by Friday, May 29, 2020, we will accept them until 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on Friday, June 5, 2020.


2019 WEFTEC Student Design Competition Winners with WEF Trustee Lynn Broaddus (top photo Wastewater category winners; bottom photo Water Environment category winners)

A record number of teams competed in the 2019 WEF Student Design Competition, showcasing 29 teams from 25 Member Associations and 3 Countries. Well done, all!

(Click to Zoom) Graphics Courtesy of Michael Willis
Student Design Competition Subcommittee


Whether you are looking to start a Student Design Competition or have been invited to attend the National Student Design Competition at WEFTEC, the resources on this page will help answer many of your questions about the competition.

WEF Student Design Competition Resources:

Design Competition Guidelines  (as of 2020)
Summary of Guidelines Changes (as of 2020)
Webinar Outlinging Competition and Changes (as of 2020)
PowerPoint associated with above Webinar
[SAMPLE] Design Team Entry Form (as of 2020)
[SAMPLE] Abstract Submission Form (and Executive Summary/In-Progress Report requirements) (as of 2020)
Competition Historical Information (team and sponsor participation)
Toolkit for Starting a Student Design Competition
Ideas for Attending WEFTEC on the Dime (as of 2019)


The WEF Student Design Competition hosts two different competitions at WEFTEC:

  • Wastewater Design: The Wastewater Design Competition is intended to include design projects that traditionally address a challenge within a water resource recovery facility, e.g. hydraulic capacity design, upgrades to existing treatment systems, biosolids handling, etc.
  • Water Environment Design: The Environmental Design Competition is intended to include design projects that address challenges within the broader water environment, e.g. water reuse, stormwater management, wetland construction, etc.

Both the Wastewater and Water Environment Design Competitions follow the same guidelines and scoring system.


There are many benefits to participating in the WEF Student Design Competition. At the competition, participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Network with students and industry leaders from across the world
  • Gain professional experience and exposure
  • Highlight their skills and enthusiasm for the water environment
  • Participate in WEFTEC activities tailored to students and young professionals


Congratulations to past winners of the WEF Student Design Competition!


Wastewater Design

Environmental Design


University of Colorado, Boulder

University of British Columbia


University of Colorado, Boulder

University of British Columbia


University of Colorado, Boulder    

University of Guelph


Southern Methodist University

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities


Southern Methodist University

North Dakota State University


University of South Florida

University of British Columbia


University of South Florida

University of British Columbia


University of Colorado, Boulder

University of South Florida


University of Wyoming

University of Florida


Southern Methodist University

University of Florida


University of Colorado, Boulder

University of Florida


View Results From Past Competitions (2002 - 2018)


Questions about the Student Design Competition?

Bernadette Drouhard
Design Competition Subcommittee Co-Chair
[email protected] 


EJ Katsoulas
Design Competition Subcommittee Co-Chair
[email protected]