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)

Region 3 AWOP Strategic Planning Meeting

The US EPA, TSC optimization team, in partnership with Region 3 and ASDWA, held a strategic planning meeting and technical workshop on April 7-9, 2015 in Maryland. State drinking water program representatives from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia reported on their respective AWOP implementation efforts and presented positive water quality impacts. Four DWPD staff members also joined the AWOP participants in a distribution system optimization workshop conducted at the Bowie, MD water system. The title of the workshop was “Assessing Distribution System Water Quality and Potential Follow-Up Studies and Control Strategies.” State participants provided positive feedback on the outlined approach and especially on the use of free chlorine residual as a key indicator of water quality. (Rick Lieberman & Alison Dugan, US EPA, TSC )

Region 4 AWOP Strategic Planning Meeting

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with EPA Region 4, led a training exercise and strategic planning meeting from March 10-12, 2014 in Cullman, AL. Participants included state drinking water program representatives from Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The training focused on optimization approaches/tools for Stage 2 DBP Rule compliance assistance. It was supported by the Alabama AWOP team, who shared techniques for enhancing communication between parent and consecutive systems and encouraging combined responsibility for water quality. The training also featured a panel of operators from the Cullman water treatment plant and their consecutive systems, who discussed their perspectives about maintaining water quality in their systems. Meeting topics included: promoting the “combined distribution system” concept; tracking/prioritizing systems for DBP performance; expanding technical assistance provider resources; using optimization tools to support RTCR implementation; and marketing AWOP.  (Alison Dugan & Richard Lieberman US EPA, TSC)

Alabama Releases April “Drawing the Graph” Newsletter

Alabama’s optimization program has just released their latest newsletter – “Drawing the Graph”.  In this issue they report on the status of meeting their optimization goals in 2014, when 54% of the surface water plants met the goals.   Two interesting technical articles cover the need for good chlorine residual management all year long and storage tank water quality and mixing.  Please see the attached newsletter for all the details.

Does your state have a newsletter or optimization report you can share with others on the AWOP News blog?  Contact Darrell Osterhoudt at ASDWA ( for more information about contributing to the blog.

Drawing the Graph – April 2015 Issue

EPA Technology Innovation Showcase

On December 2, the TSC ptimization team participated in a Technology Innovation Showcase at EPA Cincinnati, hosted by ORD and Confluence. The event highlighted technology developed by EPA (independently and in cooperation with others) and was an opportunity for the participants to learn more about opportunities for partnering with the Agency. Approximately 300 representatives from business, government, utilities, universities, economic development organizations and the financial community attended.  TSC’s hydrant sampler, a distribution system optimization tool designed and engineered by optimization team members, was among the technologies exhibited and received significant interest. The team is investigating the possibility of using a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), as ORD has done, to partner with a third party to have this device produced, marketed, and distributed for wider use by public waters systems and State regulatory organizations. Commercialization of the hydrant sampler could lead to more water systems collecting representative samples and increasing their awareness of water quality in their distribution systems. (Matthew Alexander and Michael Brinkmiller, US EPA, TSC)

Innovation Showcase Hydrant Sampler Poster

Innovation Showcase Hydrant Sampler Poster