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 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 guidelines. 

For full details about the Student Design Competition and how to participate, explore the Design Competition Guidelines (as of 2018).

Congratulations to the teams represented at the 2018 WEF Student Design Competition!

A record number of teams from 22 schools representing 20 Member Associations and 3 Countries participated in the 17th Annual Student Design Competition at WEFTEC 2018. Congratulations to all of the teams who competed in New Orleans!

Wastewater Competition
1st Place: University of Colorado, Boulder
2nd Place: University of South Florida
2nd Place: Utah State University
4th Place: University of Idaho

Water Environment Competition
1st Place: University of British Columbia
2nd Place: University of Tennessee, Knoxville
3rd Place: Northeastern University
4th Place: National University of Singapore


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 2018)
Design Team Entry Form (as of 2018)
Abstract Submission Form (as of 2018)
Student Design Competition- Historical Information (team and sponsor participation)
Toolkit for Starting a Student Design Competition
Ideas for Attending WEFTEC on the Dime (as of 2018)


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.
  • Environmental 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 Environmental 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 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 – 2016)


Questions about the Student Design Competition?

Pono Hanson
Design Competition Subcommittee Chair