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SSJID treatment plant operators earn Top Ops regional honors
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James Gallegos and Derek Cray are Top Ops.
The two South San Joaquin Irrigation District water treatment plant operators competed in a  Jeopardy-style, team-based competition against  other plant operators from California and Nevada during an American Water Works association gathering in April. It covered questions related to all areas of water treatment and distribution.
 It was their first time competing.
“The questions covered such a wide area of water that it made us really challenge ourselves to not only rely on what we have learned through books, but to really utilize the challenges faced by operators in real situations,” Cray said.
The finals were conducted in front of more than 1,000 people.
Winning the competition gave the SSJID a “Stanley Cup” style trophy for a year with the names of Gallegos and Cray engraved on it. The cup stays on display locally until the 2018 competition.
“While it was an honor to win the Top Ops competition, in our minds the True Ops go to all the operators out there that work hard every day to ensure the public has safe, clean drinking water,” Gallegos said.
Three SSJID treatment plant operators — including Gallegos and Gray — may participate in the national competition next month in Philadelphia.