Water industry, pipe repair records set by Birmingham teams at national competition

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BIRMINGHAM, AL, July 2, 2010 -- Both the Water Works Board of the City of Birmingham (BWWB)'s pipe tapping team and their Top OPs team took home a first place victory at the American Water Works Association's Annual Conference and Exposition 2010 in Chicago, IL this past week. The BWWB Tapping Team, which represents the Alabama- Mississippi section, won the men's division with a time of one minute, fourteen seconds and the Top Ops came in first place after answering 49 out of 52 questions correctly.

The Tapping Team competes to drill and tap a ductile iron water main under pressure, simulating a water connection to a house. The competition is designed to showcase operator ingenuity, know-how and skills. The exercises performed during the competition are the same activities performed on a day-to-day basis for BWWB customers whenever issues arise.

"All the hard work has finally paid off, " says Jerry R. Storey, Jr., Tapping Team Cranker and BWWB Maintenance Mechanic I. "This is my first win."

Tapping team members are Jerry Storey, Jr. (cranker), Todd Stewart (copper), Ralph Abbott (coach), Johnny Brittles (setter), Greta Threadgill (coordinator), Mark Kirkland (technician) and Jeff Standridge (head judge). Team members will win a trip to Amsterdam or Birmingham, England to compete against two other international teams. The BWWB Tapping Team is a four-time international champion.

The Birmingham Water Works name is no stranger to the Pipe Tapping competition. The team has finished among the top three for the past seven years and has been in the AWWA's Pipe Tapping Contest Hall of Fame every year for the past nineteen years, save for 1993. This is the sixth year the team saw a first place victory.

The Top Ops team saw victory for the first time in seven years. In the Top OPs competition, teams score points by displaying industry knowledge and answering "college bowl" style competition questions correctly in a question- and-answer tournament. The BWWB team finally won the first place title this year. Wendell Cox, Johnathan Harris, Bill Shikle and Trey Finch lead the Top OPs to victory.

"We're ecstatic about dethroning the three-time champions, the Florida Waterboys," says Jonathan Harris, BWWB Senior Operator.

Founded in 1951, the Water Works Board of the City of Birmingham serves 600,000 people in Jefferson, Shelby, Blount, St. Clair and Walker counties. For more information about your Birmingham Water Works Board, please call us at (205) 244-4000 or visit our Web site at www.birminghamwaterworks.com.

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