National Water Optimization Conference, October 28-30, 2015

The TSC optimization team participated in the subject conference, sponsored by the Partnership for Safe Water in conjunction with the Partnership’s 20th anniversary, in Hershey, PA.  Attendees from water systems, governmental agencies, private industry, and academia attended this three-day conference which highlighted all aspects of water optimization. Several speakers during the Opening Session acknowledged the value of State-facilitated AWOPs, which generally complement the self-assessment approach of the Partnership program.  TSC provided three presentations during this conference highlighting different aspects of AWOP, including turbidity data integrity, enhanced backwashing, and optimization of chloraminated distribution systems.  (Alison Dugan, Matthew Alexander, & Tom Waters US EPA, TSC)

Region 3 Area-Wide Optimization Program

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with EPA Region 3 and ASDWA, held a one-day planning meeting on October 27, 2015, in Harrisburg, PA.  State drinking water program representatives from Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia reported on their respective AWOP implementation efforts, including technical assistance efforts to control disinfection byproducts, maintain disinfectant residual, and investigate turbidity data integrity issues within their water systems. Meeting discussion topics included next steps related to data integrity (evaluations and follow-up), application of AWOP to address harmful algal blooms, and disinfection data integrity training (planned for the next Region 3 AWOP meeting in the spring of 2016). (Alison Dugan, US EPA, TSC)

Region 4 AWOP Strategic Planning Meeting and Workshop

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with Region 4 and ASDWA, led a training exercise and strategic planning meeting September 29-30, 2015 in Atlanta, GA. Participants included state drinking water program representatives from Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Efforts focused on identifying potential roles for third party technical assistance (TA) providers to support AWOP goals and objectives. Investigative distribution system sampling, a fundamental optimization activity, was identified as a priority for TA provider support. Each state developed an approach, with associated action items, to engage the TA provider organizations in an optimization training program for water system staff. A training module demonstration for TA providers is being developed and follow up on each state’s action items will occur at the next R4 AWOP meeting. (Richard Lieberman, US EPA, TSC)

Chloraminated Distribution System Optimization Development

During the summer of 2015, members of the Optimization Team piloted two distribution system comprehensive performance evaluations (DS CPE) at chloraminated water systems. The first was conducted in Archdale, NC, in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The second was in Greenville, PA, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. One system had very stable influent water quality that they were able to maintain throughout their system, while the other system was challenged with very unstable influent water quality. Piloting the approach at two very different systems validated that the tool could be successfully applied to a variety of system, ranging from those nearly optimized to those nearly out of compliance. The team will next be developing approaches to address water quality concerns through a technical-assistance or operator training project. (Matthew Alexander, & Alison Dugan, US EPA, TSC)

National AWOP Meeting

On July 21 and 22, TSC and ASDWA hosted the sixth biennial national AWOP meeting in Cincinnati.  Over one hundred participants attended the meeting, including 23 participating remotely.  Twenty-nine state drinking water programs were represented (8 remotely) in addition to ASDWA, AWWA (Partnership for Safe Water), US EPA (4 Regional Offices, SRMD IO, DWPD, ORD & TSC) and PAI (EPA’s small- business contractor supporting the program). Organizations implementing and/or interested in wastewater optimization programs were also represented at the meeting.  These included US EPA (ORD, Region 3 & Region 4), the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, the Grand River Conservation Authority (located in Ontario), and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission.

The meeting agenda included presentations, a resource table, workshops, and facilitated small group sessions, all focused on several different optimization themes. (Rick Lieberman, US EPA TSC).

Development of Disinfection Dosing Protocol

On May 27th and 28th, the optimization team partnered with staff from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to pilot a protocol that was developed to assess process control of chlorine and ammonia dosing at two chloraminated water systems in the Pittsburgh area.  The ratio of chlorine-to-ammonia in the finished water entering a distribution system should be consistently maintained within a desired range to decrease the likelihood of nitrification and increase the stability of monochloramine in the distribution system.  Feedback from participants will be used to enhance the protocol, which will become a component of future comprehensive performance evaluations for chloraminated distribution systems.  (Matthew Alexander & Alison Dugan, US EPA, TSC)

Region 6 & 7 AWOP Strategic Planning Meeting

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with Region 6, Region 7, and ASDWA, led a strategic planning meeting and technical workshop on May 5th – 7th in Dallas, TX.   Representatives of drinking water programs from Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas reported on ongoing AWOP implementation efforts and reported on water quality improvements in their state.  Kansas drinking water program staff members also participated in the meeting to learn more about the AWOP.  Due to increased participation from Region 6 and 7 states, two simultaneous workshops were conducted to accommodate the size of the group.  A disinfection data integrity workshop was conducted at Park Cities MUD water treatment plant and a turbidity data integrity workshop was conducted at the City of Midlothian water treatment plant.  Significant topics during the meeting included prioritization of system performance, DBP optimization, and the difference between detectable and measurable chlorine residual.  Meeting participants plan to incorporate the workshop concepts and information from group discussions into their respective state’s PWSS program activities.  (Matthew Alexander, US EPA, TSC)

Optimization Team Presentation at Pennsylvania Stakeholder Meeting

On May 26, the optimization team presented to the Board of the Small Systems Technical Assistance Center as part of their process to consider increasing the minimum disinfectant residual requirement for water systems in Pennsylvania, from the current level of “detectable.”  The presentation, entitled Area-Wide Optimization Program’s (AWOP) Approach to Maintaining Distribution System Water Quality, highlighted the water quality and monitoring goals that AWOP promotes. It also described optimization-based evaluation and water quality management strategies that AWOP state partners teach to water systems working to address disinfection byproduct and disinfectant residual concerns in their plant and distribution system.  (Alison Dugan & Matthew Alexander, US EPA, TSC)

Region 10 AWOP Strategic Planning Meeting

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with ASDWA, led a remote strategic planning meeting from May 19 to 21, 2015 in Spokane and Kennewick, WA.   Representatives of drinking water programs from Oregon, Washington, and Utah reported on ongoing AWOP implementation efforts.  US EPA Region 8, Colorado, Idaho and Montana drinking water program staff members also participated in the meeting, both in person and remotely, to learn more about the program.  A membrane workshop focused on data integrity and log removal value verification at the City of Kennewick, WA water treatment plant.  Representatives of EPA R8, CO, ID and MT were very positive about the value of AWOP and will continue discussion and garnering interest in their home offices for future participation.  (Tom Waters & Rick Lieberman US EPA, TSC)

Distribution System Optimization Training

On April 21st and 22nd US EPA, TSC, in partnership with the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health (WVBPH) Area Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) Team, conducted the second of two training sessions focused on distribution system optimization. Participants included water system operators whose systems have historically had disinfection byproduct (DBP) compliance challenges. The operators reported on their progress since attending the first session, which focused on setting water quality goals for their system (chlorine residual and DBPs), assessing system performance relative to these goals, and trending the data. It is anticipated that the systems will continue to monitor after the conclusion of the formal training sessions and that the training impact will be assessed at a one-year follow-up meeting. AWOP members from three other states who are considering the training for their own water systems also attended the training. WVBPH plans to repeat this training in other areas of the state. (Alison Dugan and Matthew Alexander, US EPA, TSC)