Region 4 AWOP Strategic Planning Meeting

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with EPA Region 4, led a strategic planning meeting from March 11-13, 2014 in Tampa, FL. Participants included state drinking water program representatives from Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina.  This meeting provided Florida staff members with an opportunity to learn more about their peers’ programs as Florida revives their own program. States provided their annual AWOP reports, and many reported an increase in population served optimized water over the previous year.  Other discussion topics included approaches to disseminate AWOP concepts to small systems that are expected to have Stage 2 DBPR compliance concerns (possibly with the use of third-party technical assistance providers), next steps for Florida’s AWOP, and the use of AWOP-concepts to support RTCR implementation. Technical training focused on special studies that can be done to investigate turbidity data integrity issues at a water system (i.e., instrument calibration, data recording or reporting errors, etc.). All states plan to incorporate aspects of this training into their routine inspection activities.  (Alison Dugan, US EPA TSC)

Region 3 AWOP Training and Strategic Planning Meeting

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with EPA Region 3 and ASDWA, led a strategic planning meeting and technical training event from March 18-19, 2014 in Leesburg, VA.  Participants included state drinking water program representatives from Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.  The technical training workshop, held at the Leesburg water treatment plant, focused on turbidity data integrity.  The objective of the workshop was to assess the accuracy and consistency of the turbidity monitoring data over its entire life cycle (i.e., sampling through reporting).

Topics for the strategic planning portion of the meeting included incorporation of AWOP concepts into RTCR Level 1 and Level 2 assessments; data integrity evaluations conducted in the state of Washington; and a summary of groundwater optimization efforts conducted by other AWOP states. Meeting participants plan to incorporate these concepts into their respective state’s PWSS program activities. (Tom Waters & Rick Lieberman, US EPA TSC)

 

Distribution System Performance Based Training in Alabama

On December 11, 2013, the Optimization Team, in partnership with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), conducted the last session of a Performance Based Training (PBT) pilot project focused on distribution system optimization. A parent water system and six of their purchasing systems, which ranged in size from 3,000 to 40,000 served customers, successfully completed the PBT series. All systems realized reduced disinfection byproducts (DBPs), increased chlorine residual, and a decrease in customer complaints throughout their systems. This was largely attributed to optimization at the water plant and efforts in the distribution systems to reduce water age. The operators also gained an “appreciation” of the importance of collecting, tracking and trending water quality data to assess system performance and address water quality issues. During this session trainers provided a summary of distribution system optimization strategies to improve water quality and encouraged participants to continue optimization as an ongoing activity in their systems. The training materials and lessons learned from this pilot are being utilized by Alabama and other AWOP states to train distribution system operators. (Matthew Alexander, Alison Dugan, & Tom Waters, US EPA TSC).

Shawn Whittle (V.A.W. Water) receiving a certificate of recognition from William McClimans (Alabama Department of Environmental Management)

Shawn Whittle (V.A.W. Water) receiving a certificate of recognition from William McClimans (Alabama Department of Environmental Management)

Kevin Tillman (Cullman County Water District) receiving a certificate of recognition from Laura Taylor (Alabama Department of Environmental Management)

Kevin Tillman (Cullman County Water District) receiving a certificate of recognition from Laura Taylor (Alabama Department of Environmental Management)

Nathan Finley (Hanceville Water and Sewer District) receiving a certificate of recognition from Alison Dugan (U.S. EPA TSC)

Nathan Finley (Hanceville Water and Sewer District) receiving a certificate of recognition from Alison Dugan (U.S. EPA TSC)

National Capacity Development and Operator Certification Workshop

TSC’s Optimization Team participated in the 2013 National Capacity Development and Operator Certification Workshop in Atlanta, GA on November 19-21. A presentation was given during an Operator Certification session discussing the AWOP program and how optimization findings have shaped operator training. Several members of the AWOP “network” (representatives from Region 4 and Iowa) gave a presentation highlighting how the program directly supports the implementation of Capacity Development in IA. AWOP is recognized by many as a proactive approach for providing technical assistance to water systems, with particular interest in the AWOP status component as an approach for prioritizing systems in need of assistance. Additional opportunities for using AWOP to support the implementation of these programs will continue to be explored. (Alison Dugan, US EPA TSC)

Region 4 AWOP Strategic Planning Meeting

The TSC Optimization Team, in partnership with Region 4 and ASDWA, conducted a strategic planning meeting via web conferencing on November 19-20, 2013.  Participants included representatives from Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Each participant provided an AWOP implementation update and some included examples of area-wide and individual water system impacts. Increases in population served by optimized treatment plants, reductions in disinfection by-products at individual water systems and water savings due to filter backwash optimization were reported. Discussion topics included the development of operator training approaches, relationships between parent and consecutive water systems and their implications on meeting regulations such as the Stage 2 DBPR, and approaches to improving data integrity through AWOP implementation. (Thomas Waters, US EPA TSC)

Region 6 AWOP Training and Strategic Planning Meeting

The TSC Optimization Team, in partnership with Region 6 and ASDWA, conducted a technical training event and meeting on November 13-15, 2013 in Oklahoma City, OK. Participants included representatives from Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The technical training included a workshop that provided participants an approach to identify and correct areas of high water age (e.g., low chlorine residual, high TTHMs) in a distribution system. During the planning meeting, states discussed utilizing Area-Wide Optimization Programs (AWOPs) to support State Capacity Development and Operator Certification programs and using AWOP tools for RTCR compliance. This was the first AWOP training and planning meeting that Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MODNR) and New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) were able to attend. MODNR is in the process of developing an AWOP in their state, while NMED is resurrecting their program after suspending all AWOP activities for the past few years. (Matthew Alexander, US EPA TSC)

Region 3 AWOP Training and Strategic Planning Meeting

The TSC Optimization Team, in partnership with US EPA Region 3 and ASDWA, conducted a meeting and technical training event on October 22 and 23, 2013 in Gettysburg, WV. Participants included state representatives from Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The technical training was focused on implementation of a backwashing procedure known as extended terminal subfluidization wash (ETSW), which is used to reduce backwash induced turbidity spikes. The ETSW demonstration was made possible with key cooperation of staff from the Gettysburg Municipal Authority’s Marsh Creek WTP. Participating state representatives described preliminary implementation strategies for application of ETSW in their respective states. (Rick Lieberman, US EPA TSC)

Distribution System Comprehensive Performance Evaluation

During the week of September 23rd members of the Optimization Team demonstrated the Distribution System Comprehensive Performance Evaluation (DS CPE) approach in Easley, SC to the Region 4 Area-Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) program participants.

Elevated storage tank in Easley, SC

Elevated storage tank in Easley, SC

This is the first of several planned training CPEs intended to transfer DS CPE skills to the State AWOP participants. The training will ultimately enable these personnel to conduct DS CPEs and provide other technical assistance to water systems challenged with meeting the Stage 2 DBPR requirements or consistently maintaining a disinfectant residual in their system. (Alison Dugan & Matthew Alexander, US EPA TSC)

Rick Hiers (SC DHEC) and Lindsey Bounds (SC DHEC) collecting samples for the Distribution System Influent Hold Study

Rick Hiers (SC DHEC) and Lindsey Bounds (SC DHEC) collecting samples for the Distribution System Influent Hold Study

Continuous chlorine monitor used for the Storage Tank Assessment Special Study

Continuous chlorine monitor used for the Storage Tank Assessment Special Study

Technical Assistance in West Virginia

From September 17 – 19, the TSC optimization team, in collaboration with the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health and a representative of the Public Service Commission of West Virginia, provided technical assistance to staff members from two WV water systems challenged by high levels of source water manganese (a secondary-standard contaminant) and other unique problems impacting water treatment plant performance. A series of special treatment studies were conducted to optimize manganese removal and demonstrate the best approach for future implementation by utility and state personnel. (Rick Lieberman & Ouro Koumai US EPA TSC)

Distribution System Performance Based Training in Alabama

On September 4, the US EPA Optimization Team, in partnership with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), conducted Session 9 of a Performance Based Training (PBT) pilot project focused on distribution system optimization. The participating operators developed and presented case studies about some of their accomplishments during this PBT project. Examples included water quality enhancements through operational changes in the distribution system (i.e., tanks, optimizing automatic flushing) and reduced staff burden associated with maintaining water quality in the distribution system (i.e., fewer customer complaint, less time spent manually flushing the system). Participants also discussed possible approaches for documenting impacts of the project: stabilizing distribution system chlorine residual levels (either at a single site, or system wide); reducing disinfection by-products system-wide; and improving water quality in the system. The afternoon workshop focused on assessing the impact of rerouting water in the system to improve water quality. The final session is planned for December. (Matthew Alexander & Alison Dugan US EPA TSC).