Aqua Pennsylvania maintenance crews win statewide hydrant assembly competition

May 4, 2017
Aqua Pennsylvania winners will represent Pennsylvania in national Hydrant Hysteria competition in June. 
Aqua employees Eastern Division Maintenance Leader John Christiansen and Maintenance Foreman Dennis Wiley during the competition. Photo: Business Wire

BRYN MAWR, PA, MAY 4, 2017 -- Two Aqua Pennsylvania (Aqua) maintenance crew employees have won the opportunity to represent the Pennsylvania in the American Water Works Association's (AWWA) national Hydrant Hysteria competition at AWWA's national conference, which takes place in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from June 11 to 14.

Aqua's Hydrant Hysteria team made up of Eastern Division Maintenance Leader John Christiansen of Warminster, Bucks County and Maintenance Foreman Dennis Wiley of Jenkintown, Montgomery County, won the Pennsylvania AWWA Hydrant Hysteria competition by assembling a fire hydrant faster than their competitors.

Competing teams were given two opportunities to assemble a hydrant. AWWA averaged the scores of each of the two attempts and used the average of both scores to determine the winner. Aqua's times were 1:54:68 for the first round and 1:44 for the second, giving them the average winning score of 1:49.49.

Christiansen described the time leading up to the competition as "very nerve-wracking." "I was stressed out the whole ride out there. I was anxious. I just wanted to perform well, you know," said the former high school lacrosse and football player. "It was like the night before the big game."

"It was a lot of fun," said Wiley. "We had the sample hydrant for about a week to prepare and did about a dozen test runs before competing in Hershey."

While hydrant repair and replacement is part of the work they're responsible for, it's not a large part of what they do every day. "We probably fix a couple fire hydrants a month, and usually they're not full rip-downs -- we don't always have to take the entire hydrant apart. The competition hydrant is foreign to our system. Although we understand the parts, we had to learn each part and where it went," explained Christiansen.

Although the competition hydrant was foreign to the team, Wiley said, "Assembling a new hydrant is easier because everything works the way it should. Sometimes we have to cut the bolts off a hydrant if it has layers of paint on it or if the hydrant is bent from a car hit."

When asked if the two had a game plan for winning the nationals in June, Christiansen said, "We're going to stick to the game plan. I'll be quiet and nervous the day of and hopefully have another win."

Aqua Pennsylvania serves approximately 1.4 million people in 32 counties throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. VisitAquaAmerica.comfor more information, or follow Aqua on Facebook on Twitter at@MyAquaAmerica.