For the second year in a row and the seventh time since 2007, the City of Palm Coast's "Water Buoys" team won the Top Ops National Championship of the American Water Works Association!

The Palm Coast Utility Department's team of Fred Greiner, Tom Martens and Peter Roussell defeated 17 teams from across the United States and Canada to earn the national championship at the AWWA Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE) in Philadelphia.

"It is such an honor for us to represent the Florida Section (of AWWA) and the City of Palm Coast in the national contest and come away with another win," said Team Coach Jim Hogan, Palm Coast's Utility Systems Manager of Water Operations. "There were 17 other top-notch teams gunning for us, but once again our team displayed a single-minded determination to reach its goal of regaining the national championship!"

"The Water Buoys exemplify our entire Utility Department's efforts to provide excellence in water and wastewater services to the City of Palm Coast," Hogan said.

Top Ops is done brain-bowl style, with water treatment teams from across the U.S. and Canada, answering questions in a Q&A contest. Questions in the competition cover a broad range of operational topics including basic science, chemistry, hydrology, water distribution, public health and sanitation, plant maintenance, safety and process control. The annual contest recognizes and promotes excellence in all aspects of water operations, giving operators the opportunity to showcase their knowledge and talents.

The Palm Coast team won the state championship in April for the 11th time in the past 13 years. In addition, the Water Buoys have placed in every national-level competition they've entered since the team started in 2005 - seven first-place victories, four second-places, and one third-place.

The Florida Section of the AWWA awards expense-paid trips to the winners of the state competition, so no City funds are used toward the competition. Team members pay for the competition out of their own pockets and then receive financial reimbursement from the Florida Section. Since the Water Buoys won the national competition this year, the team is automatically entered into next year's competition as returning champions, and all expenses will be paid by the national organization.

The opportunity to attend the conference, and even practice for the competition, has a major pay-off for the City, Hogan said.

"The educational aspects of Top Ops cannot be understated," Hogan said. "The Water Buoys study relevant technical manuals and practice for the competition all year long. The team members then impart their knowledge to the operational staff in regularly scheduled, in-house training sessions."

For more information, please contact Cindi Lane, Communications & Marketing Manager, at clane@palmcoastgov.com and 386-986-3708.