How do I find my link to the next zoom meeting for Tasks 4, 5, 6?
Please search your email for mail coming from Subject: All Registration Invitations Tasks 4, 5, 6.

In the spirit of educating engineers who are flexible and can rise to ever-changing situations in the workplace, the WERC Environmental Design Contest will celebrate its 30th year by conducting its competition online.  The students hav e worked hard on their designs. Some have working prototypes, some have did not complete them before being asked to leave their campuses.

As judges, we ask you to pledge to provide a valuable learning experience to this special group of students who is forging ahead with the contest, in spite of significant obstacles.

Oral Presentation ScheduleSchedule also applies to the Zoom Test Meeting Bench-Scale Discussion ScheduleFile will download–Format: .xlsx
How do I find my link to the next zoom meeting for Tasks 1, 2, 3?
Please search your email for mail coming from Subject: All Zoom Registration Invitations Tasks 1, 2, 3.
How do I find my link to the next zoom meeting for Tasks 4, 5, 6?
Please search your email for mail coming from Subject: All Registration Invitations Tasks 4, 5, 6.
I am scheduled to start judging the Oral Presentation today at 10:45 AM. Why does my meeting invite say the meeting starts at 9 AM?
Please arrive 5-10 minutes prior to your scheduled starting time. (Click on the schedule button above to check your time.) The reason the meeting time is listed as beginning at 9 AM is that we have scheduled one 6-hour meeting for all teams and judges to sign in/out during the day. It just happens to start at 9 am, but do not arrive at that time unless yours is the first meeting of the day (9:15 am).

4/12/2020: Judge FAQs for the Virtual Contest

Where can I find the Judge Handbook?
Please email to request that it be emailed to you. It was too large to upload to this website.
Where do I enter scores?
Sign in to your account at Go to TEAMS. Within each team’s box, click the red “Grading” button. This takes you to the grading sheet for the Written Report. Click on the dropdown to find other report grading.

4/7/2020: Judge FAQs for the Virtual Contest

I am scheduled to start judging the Oral Presentation (and to arrive at the Zoom Test) at 10:45 AM. Why does my meeting invite say the meeting starts at 9 AM?
Excellent question! Because some judges start at 9:15, and some stay as late as 2:30 PM, we scheduled the meeting to start at 9 AM. It will stay open for 6 hours as participants sign in/out. Please look at the schedule (posted above) and arrive 5-10 minutes prior to the time listed for your judging start time. (Note: we will actually open the meeting at 8:45 AM, in case you want to arrive up to 1/2 hour early.)

4/6/2020: Judge FAQs for the Virtual Contest

Who is supposed to join the Zoom Test on 8-Apr, and what will we be doing?
All team members, advisors, and judges will be signing in at their scheduled times. This is the order of events: 1) Sign in 5 minutes prior to your assigned time shown on the Oral Presentation Schedule. 2) Everyone who signs in will be placed in one large Main Zoom meeting 3) When all judges have arrived in the Main meeting, each will be placed in the appropriate Breakout Room. 4) The teams you will be judging will also be placed in that Breakout Room. 5) At the real contest, you will be staying in the Breakout Room until all of the teams on your schedule have presented. For the Zoom test, we ask that you arrive 5 minutes prior to at least ONE of the scheduled time slots. You do not need to prepare anything, just be ready to experience: signing in, being moved to a Breakout Room, chatting with each other for a short time. 6) Wait for the meeting host to come to your room to discuss logistics and close the Breakout Room when all are ready to do so.
When will we receive our zoom links?
Will there be a chance for us to test our ability to join the Zoom conferences?
Yes! The first Zoom testing session will take place on Wednesday, 8 April. Due to increased Zoom security measures, you will be emailed the links for joining the session.
What if I cannot make my scheduled Zoom Test time block?
We ask that you log in at the beginning of at least one of your scheduled time blocks. If you cannot make any of  your scheduled times, please log in at the beginning of any scheduled time slot between 9:15 AM and 2:30 PM (MDT). If you cannot make any of those, please contact us ( You will not be expected to stay in a zoom session for the duration of your scheduled time–only until you are confident that all is well on your end. The zoom tests should take about 20-30 minutes of your time on Zoom Test day.
What are you doing about security for the Zoom conferences?
We are aware of Zoombombers and are implementing a three-step verification process for entering our Zoom sessions. Do your part: download the latest Zoom security updates before launching Zoom.
Update at 11:32 AM: Will Faculty Advisors be joining the Zoom sessions?
Faculty Advisors may choose whether or not to attend their students’ sessions. Ordinarily, we do not allow advisors to attend student presentations as we wish to support a dynamic of professionalism between teams and the judges. But in this videoconference situation, the teams may need the advisor’s help. Therefore, advisors are welcome in the room. They must not speak, except to help teams with technical issues relating to Zoom conferencing. 



4/2/2020: Judge FAQs for the Virtual Contest

When will the reports be available for scoring?
Teams will upload their reports to starting April 6. Please accept reports until noon on April 10, and have all reports scored by April 12. To score the reports, click on the red “Grade” button that is on the same page as the report download button.
How do I access the reports and the team's brochure?
Log into your account at Go to TEAM. Note that a green check mark inside the blue button means that you can download it by clicking on the button. A red check mark means that the team has not yet uploaded an assignment.
I am concerned that I do not have a nice place in my home to set up a video conference
Zoom allows you to select virtual backgrounds. (There may be some options pre-loaded on your zoom account). You can access these, or upload your own images, at the beginning of a Zoom session by clicking the ‘up’ arrow near the camera icon and select ‘Choose Virtual Background.’ Try to choose a background that is not too distracting.

2020 Virtual Judging Events

We will be using Zoom Video Conferencing for all virtual events. All Zoom links provided by WERC.

6-10 April: Score oral reports (download student reports from

13 April, Monday: Sign in to Zoom Meeting for 3-hours of Oral Presentations (up to 4 teams will join the meeting in 45-minute intervals)  (One Zoom link provided by WERC)

14 April, Tuesday: Sign in to four Zoom Meetings to discuss bench-scale models with teams (you will join 4 separate Zoom meetings; Zoom links provided by WERC)

15 April, Wednesday: 9-11 am. Judges’ Zoom meeting to discuss awards (Zoom link provided by WERC).

15 April, Wednesday: noon. Awards Ceremony. Judges are welcome to log in to watch the results. (Zoom link provided by WERC).

3/27/20   Judges—Find the Virtual Contest Team Manual Supplement here:

Virtual Contest Team ManualOfficial Supplement to the 2020 WERC Team Manual.

3/25/2020  Until further notice, judges will sign into Zoom meetings remotely.

At this time, we do not anticipate an on-site location for judges to convene.


We have watched as the COVID-19 outbreak has limited the activities of our registered teams.

To ensure that all teams have the chance to compete in the 30th Environmental Design Contest in a way that keeps everyone safe and healthy, while ensuring that all students have the opportunity to discuss their designs with a team of experienced engineers, be recognized for their achievements, win cash prizes and trophies, and be invited to publish a paper in our IEEE Conference Proceedings, we are transitioning, this year only, to a virtual contest.


Tasks for 2020:

Task 1–Improving PV Module Efficiency Thru Cooling

Task 2–Wireless Soil-Moisture Sensors

Task 3–Heavy Metal Removal via Phycoremediation (Sponsored by Freeport-McMoRan)

Task 4–Fluoride Water Treatment and Recovery (Sponsored by Freeport-McMoRan)

Task 5–Produced Water: Cleanup and Rare Earth Element Recovery

Task 6–Open: Teams identify their own challenge. This year’s topics:

  • Mitigation of harmful algal blooms using modified clays
  • Using biotechnology to remove selenium from water
  • MicroPlastic removal for Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Development of a Bioswale system


Virtual Contest Logistics—Detailed Calendar
  1. March 25–Submit Doodle poll indicating your availability by this date.
  2. March 27–Receive task judging assignments and time blocks.
  3. March 27-April 5:
    1. Receive and study judging guidelines
    2. Explore WERC site ( for team assignments, scoring rubrics, etc.
    3. Connect with other judges on your judging team, if desired.
    4. Keep watching the website for updates (
  4. April 6-10–Log in to to download and score written reports. Teams will begin submitting reports on Monday, April 6, 11:59 PM. Due to upheaval at the schools, we are allowing reports to be submitted, without penalty, until noon Friday April 10. Please score the reports individually before Monday, April 13.
  5. April 13, Monday: Watch Oral Presentations and engage in Q/A with the teams. Judges remain logged in to a Zoom meeting for up to 3.75 hours. Teams log in/out in 45-minute intervals during this time period (your assigned time period may be shorter than 3.75 hours).
  6. April 13, Monday: Download and print teams’ brochures* in preparation for the Bench-scale Discussions. It is not required that you print out the brochures, but it may be easier to have hard copies during the bench-scale discussion, than trying to view them on your computer during a video conference.
  7. April 14, Tuesday: Join in Bench-Scale Discussions with teams. The student teams will remain logged in for 2.5 hours. You, and 1-2 other judges, will be assigned a time to log in to the team’s video conference site to spend approximately 30 minutes discussing each team’s solutions. You will be assigned to sign in to up to five teams’ 30-minute bench-scale discussions, for a maximum of 2.5 hours.
  8. April 15, Wednesday, 9-11 am: Log in for discussion of awards with other judges.
  9. April 15, Wednesday, Noon. Awards Ceremony. All are invited to log in to watch the awards ceremony.
* For returning judges, note that teams are asked to create a brochure, rather than a conference-style poster. This smaller format should be more convenient for all to print and discuss. Teams are asked to clearly number/label parts of the brochure for easy reference during the bench-scale discussion.

We invite Environmental Professionals to join our team of judges April 6-15, 2020

Get StartedContact us to become a judge for the next contest this coming April!


As a judge, you will:

  • help develop the next generation of engineers,
  • identify solutions to today’s environmental challenges,
  • find prospective employees for your company,
  • gain your own professional development as you explore student solutions,
  • network with other engineering professionals,
  • give back to your community


Judges are:

  • Volunteers who attend the contest for four days and provide their own transportation and lodging.
  • People who have worked in environmental fields as scientists, engineers, regulatory, and/or public relations liaisons.
  • People who want to encourage future engineers and introduce them to new ideas and new ways of thinking