Optimization Program ­­– EPA Small Systems Webinar

On June 5th, Tom Waters (of TSC’s Optimization Team), co-presented with Nick Dugan (of ORD/NRMRL) in the ORD/OW Small Systems Webinar Series. Their presentation, entitled Conventional Treatment Options for Harmful Algal Blooms, focused on surface waters impacted by harmful algal blooms (HABs). Topics included cyanobacterial cell and cyanotoxin removals through coagulation, sedimentation and filtration; propagation of cyanotoxins and indicator parameters of cyanobacterial biomass through a surface water treatment facility; removal of cyanobacterial toxins by powdered activated carbon (PAC); the impact of permanganate oxidation on cyanobacterial cell integrity, toxin release, and toxin degradation; and toxin degradation by free chlorine. A considerable amount of information shared during this presentation was attained through the Optimization Team’s pilot project with Ohio EPA to develop a HAB-focused water treatment plant “comprehensive performance evaluation” (CPE) tool.  Almost 1,400 attendees participated, representing all 50 states, 10 EPA Regions, 10 Tribal Nations, 1 territory, and 14 countries (Tom Waters, US EPA/ TSC).

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Region 6/7 AWOP Planning Meeting and Workshop 

 TSC’s Optimization Team, in collaboration with EPA Regions 6 and 7, led a technical workshop and strategic planning meeting from May 22-24, 2018, in Lawrence, KS.  Representatives from Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, and Oklahoma attended the meeting and workshop.  States provided updates on their drinking water optimization programs, including program impacts and case studies.  The technical workshop, hosted by the City of Lawrence Clinton Reservoir Water Treatment Plant, introduced the states to a jar test procedure that may be used to evaluate disinfectant byproduct (DBP) precursor removal.  States may use this procedure to assist drinking water systems that are challenged with DBP compliance issues.  (Matthew Alexander, US EPA/ Technical Support Center).

Region 3 AWOP Implementation Meeting 

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with the EPA Region 3 AWOP team, led a program implementation meeting on May 8-9, 2018, in Baltimore, MD. Meeting participants included state drinking water staff from Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, as well as EPA staff from Region 1, Region 5 and OGWDW’s Drinking Water Protection Division. State participants reported on their recent AWOP activities, including program impacts and case studies. Meeting topics included: incorporation of data-integrity and optimization-awareness activities into their respective sanitary survey efforts; disinfection byproduct compliance challenges and strategies; approaches for calculating CT (disinfection) at water plants; state approaches to addressing harmful algal blooms, and strategies to characterize and optimize corrosion control treatment at water systems. After the meeting, several participants also attended the Legionella 2018 Conference, also held in Baltimore that week. (Alison Dugan, Matthew Alexander; US EPA/ TSC)

Region 10/8 AWOP Planning Meeting and Workshop

The Optimization Team, in collaboration with EPA Region 10, led a technical workshop and strategic planning meeting during May 15 – 17, 2018, in Spokane, WA.  Representatives from Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington attended the meeting and workshop.  Remote participants included representatives from Colorado, Montana and EPA Region 8. The states provided updates on their optimization efforts and impacts of their programs on public health protection.  The technical workshop, hosted by the Vera Water & Power utility located in Spokane Valley, WA focused on tools to evaluate distribution system data integrity. The workshop demonstrated that the approach is directly applicable to a ground water system utilizing multiple wells as the water source.  Representatives of two Tribal utilities and the Indian Health Service also participated in the workshop.  (Richard Lieberman,  Tom Waters,  Alison Dugan  and Matthew Alexander; US EPA/ TSC).

Optimization Program – Region 5 PWSS Directors Meeting

On April 24, 2018, the TSC Optimization team delivered a presentation and participated remotely in a discussion with the EPA Region 5 and their state PWSS Directors about the implementation of the Area-Wide Optimization Program (AWOP). Amy Klei and Eric Oswald, representing the Ohio EPA and the Michigan DEQ, respectively, also shared recent experiences with optimization projects and AWOP. Ohio EPA emphasized the positive response from water system staff and how much state staff members were energized through involvement in the project to apply treatment optimization tools to HAB issues. The Michigan DEQ considers the current investment in staff time to be worth the expected long-term benefits from AWOP participation. The state directors were provided with this information to assist as they consider future participation in AWOP.  (Richard Lieberman, Alison Dugan and Matthew Alexander; US EPA Tecnical Support Center)

Region 4 AWOP Strategic Planning Meeting and Workshop: 

The TSC optimization team, in cooperation with EPA Region 4 and ASDWA, led a technical workshop and strategic planning meeting from April 9-12, 2018 in Albertville, AL. Participants included state drinking water program representatives from Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. State representatives presented their AWOP annual implementation reports, including AWOP activities and resulting water quality impacts. Improvements in small system performance were evident in the annual reports.  The technical workshop, hosted by Albertville, AL water system staff, focused on tools to evaluate distribution system data integrity. (Alison Dugan and Richard Lieberman, US EPA/ TSC).

Distribution System Optimization Pilot Training in Pennsylvania

On March 28th, the Optimization Team partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) to conduct a training workshop on Distribution System Optimization (DSO) for parent and consecutive water systems that use chloramine disinfection.  This was the second in a series workshops designed to improve water quality in chloraminated water systems.  The topics included an introduction to chloramine chemistry and nitrification, a review of operational control strategies to improve water quality, and updates from each of the seven systems about their activities since the previous meeting.  Potential future topics include managing storage tanks to improve water quality, implementing a disinfectant conversion, and anticipated compliance concerns with PA DEP’s new minimum disinfectant residual requirement.  The next workshop is tentatively planned for Summer 2018.

Matthew Alexander and Alison Dugan; US EPA/ TSC

Microbial / Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) CPE in Partnership with Ohio EPA

The TSC Optimization team, in partnership with Ohio EPA, conducted a developmental HAB CPE at the City of Delphos Water Treatment Plant in Delphos, OH during the week of March 19-23, 2018. This CPE was the last of a series of four pilot CPEs designed to develop an optimization evaluation tool for water treatment plants (WTPs) challenged by HABs. The CPE also served as a training opportunity for Ohio EPA staff, which included participants from all of the state’s district offices and central office. The evaluation at the Delphos WTP identified factors that could limit the plant’s performance during a HAB. Delphos staff were receptive to the week-long evaluation. They indicated that the CPE findings were informative and identified plans for further study to address the identified factors. Future engagement with Ohio EPA on water treatment plant optimization to address HABs is under consideration.

Tom Waters, Rick Lieberman, Alison Dugan and Matt Alexander; US EPA/ TSC.

Region 3 AWOP Planning Meeting and Workshop

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with the Region 3 AWOP team, led a program implementation meeting on December 12-14, 2017 in Philadelphia, PA.  Meeting participants included a mix of those regularly involved (i.e., Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, EPA’s Drinking Water Protection Branch and ASDWA), as well as those interested in learning more about the program (i.e., personnel from New Jersey and EPA Regions 1 and 5). Michigan, which recently announced their intent to join AWOP, attended this as their first multi-state AWOP meeting.

All participants provided reports on their recent AWOP activities and/or their interest in the program.  The technical topic, distribution system data integrity, was embraced by participants as a potential activity for smaller systems. Topic discussed during the strategic planning meeting included Legionella (i.e., understanding treatment options, approaches for consecutive systems); next steps for new/interested AWOP states; flushing approaches to enhance water quality; drinking water program metrics; and simultaneous compliance challenges. (Alison Dugan, US EPA – TSC)

Region 4 AWOP Strategic Planning Meeting and Workshop

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with EPA Region 4 and ASDWA, led a November 7-9 technical training workshop and strategic planning meeting in Frankfort, KY.  Participants included state drinking water program representatives from Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. States presented updates on their AWOP activities and resulting water quality impacts. The technical workshop, at the Nicholasville, KY water treatment plant, focused on evaluating corrosion control treatment. Discussion topics included a variety of PWSS and AWOP implementation issues. (Alison Dugan, Matthew Alexander, Ouro Koumai and Richard Lieberman; US EPA TSC)