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The VA AWWA Plant Operations Committee proudly announces the 24th Annual Plant Operators Conference to be held May 8th-10th in Virginia Beach, VA. This conference is dedicated to promoting education and training, increasing performance and fostering communication among waterworks operators, maintenance and management personnel. Attendance is recommended for waterworks operators of both small and large groundwater and surface water systems. Come match wits against fellow operators in the Top Ops Competition or cheer for your favorites.
NEW! Click here for Program Brochure
Approved for 10 CECs for Professional Engineers/ 10 CPEs for Water Operators! 
(3 Management Credits)

24th Annual Plant Operators Conference 

Join the VA AWWA Plant Operations Committee for this favorite educational and networking event. Please scroll for the full schedule of speakers and presentations (subject to changes).

Sheraton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel- Reserve by April 8th
Reserve your room by calling Marriott reservations at 1-888-627-8231 or book online.  
All attendees are responsible for their own lodging arrangements. This special rate is available for up to 3 days pre and post, subject to hotel availability. The self-parking fee of $12 per day is not included in this rate.  Please register by April 8, 2024 to take advantage of our special group rate of $120. 
AWWA Top Ops Competition
The purpose of this event is to showcase the depth and breadth of knowledge held by water operators.  The AWWA Top Ops Competition is a competitive, question-and-answer tournament where a moderator asks a broad range of technical questions to the participating teams and they have limited time to answer. During the Plant Operations Conference, a competition is held to find the Top Operators in Virginia to represent the Virginia Section at the AWWA Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE).  Download the Top Ops FAQs flyer here!
Congratulations to the Purcellville Mud Dogs - 4th Place WINNERS at ACE 2023

NEW: Watch our VIDEO INTERVIEW with Bernie Snyder, Mike Lamb, and Michael Costello and learn how YOU can form a winning team!  
Use passcode: TopOps2024*

So, get your team together and match wits with your fellow operators! 
  • Team members do not have to be from the same utility. 
  • Individuals are welcome to compete solo.
  • Let us know on the registration form if you would like help getting matched up to another team.
Schedule At A Glance
Wednesday, May 8
5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
  • 5:30 Event Check In and Reception- Heavy Appetizers and Drinks

  • 6:30-7:30 Roundtable Discussion I - Shawn Heselton, HRSD and Kayla Sanon, City of Richmond DPU

  • 7:30-8:30 Roundtable Discussion II - Betty Green, Virginia Rural Water Association

Thursday, May 9
7:30 am- 2:30 pm
  • 7:30 Event Check In and Continental Breakfast

  • 8:15 Opening Remarks: VA AWWA Plant Operations Committee Chair
    Thomas Barger, Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority

  • 8:30 Regulatory Update
    Dan Horne, PE, VDH- Office of Drinking Water

  • 9:30 Break and 'Get to Know Your Sponsors' Introductions

  • 10:00 O&M to Asset Management: An Operator's Role In the Big Picture
    Scott Mattice, Hazen and Sawyer

  • 11:00 On Site Hypo Generation Systems at the New Ulm and Baxter Water Treatment Plant: An Operations-Focused Study
    Brad Weiss, PE, Short Elliott Hendrickson

  • 12:00 Lunch/ Top Ops Preliminary Round

  • 1:15 Operational Benefits from Chemical Feed System Replacements Done In-House
    Karlyn Owens, PE, James City Service Authority

  • 2:15 Exhibitor Showcase

Thursday 5-8 PM
FREE Networking Event at Beachside Social
Join your fellow members and friends of VA AWWA for drinks, appetizers, games, and great company at Beachside Social in Virginia Beach. This networking event is free to all conference attendees and their guests, just RSVP at https://vaawwa.org/events/beachsidesocial/ 


Friday, May 10
7:30 am - 2:30 pm
  • 7:30 Event Check In and Continental Breakfast

  • 8:15 Opening Remarks: VA AWWA Plant Operations Committee Chair
    Thomas Barger, Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority

  • 8:30 How SURE?: SUstainability and REsiliency for Conventional Filters and Underdrain Systems
    Phil Pino, Orthos Liquid Systems/ Beacon Water Technologies

  • 9:30 Break and 'Get to Know Your Sponsors' Introductions

  • 10:00 Chloramine Disinfection Residual Optimization and Management in the Distribution System

    Brandon Isenhart , Loudoun Water and Tom Caulfield, PAX Water Technologies

  • 11:00 Observatory WTP Upgrade: Operational Efficiency, System Resiliency
    Daniel Campbell, Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority

  • 12:00 Lunch and Top Ops Competition

  • 1:30 Preparing the Next Level of Water Operators in a Changing World
    Betty Green, VA Rural Water Association

  • 2:30 Closing Comments

Registration Fees- 
Please note that there is a $12/day fee for parking at this venue or in nearby lots. 
Full Conference
  • AWWA Member Rate - $250
  • Non-Member Rate - $333
  • Retiree - $75
  • Student - Free!
Single Day
  • AWWA Member Rate - $140
  • Non-Member Rate - $223
  • Retiree - Early Bird - $45
  • Roundtable Discussion only - $40
Financial Assistance: This event qualifies for One AWWA Operator Scholarship Funds. 
Exhibitors and Sponsorship: Sorry, we're full for 2024. View the Vendor Invitation here. 
Cancellations: Please view our Cancellation and Refund policy.   

Event Sponsors











Sheraton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel
3501 Atlantic Avenue
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
United States of America
Cynthia Barnes


Thomas Barger