Two Choices this Time for AWOP News

In AWOP, we are looking at optimization for new technologies like membranes, dissolved air flotation, and proprietary sedimentation/filtration equipment.  Well, we are also exploring new technologies with AWOP News.  This fall edition of AWOP News is available in the traditional, newspaper-like, print-focused format and in this newer blog format.  The announcing email you received about this edition provided you with access to either version of the Fall AWOP News.  You are obviously reading the blog version now.  We encourage you to also look at the other version and consider the differences and which you like best.   In fact, you can download the PDF-version of AWOP News by clicking the link in the right sidebar.

The two versions have a lot in common.  The content is the same with both means of publication.  Both can be read on-line or printed out in a hard copy form for distribution or physical posting.  Both versions will be archived for later research by current readers and new staff.     However, there are some differences.  The traditional version is more familiar, especially as a printed document, and may be more appealing for that reason.  With the blog format, articles can be posted as they are written, providing more immediate access to information than a scheduled publication date for the traditional version.  The blog version also offers some more options for how readers are notified when new News articles are available; offering both email and RSS notifications.  Email notifications can be configured based on the individual user’s desired frequency – immediate notification, a daily summary of posts, or a weekly summary of posts. For those who prefer to receive notifications via RSS, subscriptions are available for blog posts [https://awopnews.asdwa.org/feed] and post comments [https://awopnews.asdwa.org/comments/feed/].  The blog format also allows for content searches to be performed on the entire collection of articles.  With the traditional printed format, there is no way to offer a content search for every article across every edition of AWOP News.  There are also a number of differences in how the edition is prepared, but what matters most is how it is perceived by the readers.

You can learn more about the different editions on ASDWA’s website at http://www.asdwa.org/awopnews, which has been redesigned slightly to account for some new features the blog format offers –  you’ll notice the Table of Contents for this issue is a series of clickable links that go directly to the corresponding article online.

Please browse both versions of this AWOP News and provide your feedback.  Click the “Leave a Comment” link near the title of this post to share your thoughts, or comments can be directed to Anthony DeRosa of ASDWA at aderosa@asdwa.org.  AWOP News will also be a topic for regional planning meeting discussions.

It’s Never Too Early to Begin Thinking About the 2011 National AWOP Meeting

Every two years since 2005, the National Optimization Leadership Team (NOLT) has sponsored a national meeting of all the AWOP states and regions in Cincinnati, Ohio.  2011 will be another national meeting year.   The event is scheduled for July 19 and 20, 2011 at the historic Netherlands Hilton in Cincinnati.  Please mark your calendar.

Past agendas have featured program updates, technical topics, workshops on AWOP issues, a display table for tools and innovations, and panels of states sharing their experiences.  And let’s not forget the exciting and fun icebreaker game!  Although past meetings have been very well received, the NOLT strives to do better every year.  In the coming months, a planning committee will be working on the agenda and other details for the meeting.  Members of the committee are Rick Lieberman (TSC), Bob Hegg (PAI), Jim Taft and Darrell Osterhoudt (ASDWA).  The committee welcomes input from the AWOP community to help them plan an even better event for 2011.  Please offer your ideas to any of the committee members or provide input when the national meeting is discussed during regular regional planning meetings. Your ideas and your attendance are both important to the success of the meeting. See you in 2011!

Groundhog Day

By Megan Sekhar and Alison Dugan – EPA

What do you think about when you hear the term “groundhog presentation?”  Do you think of the “classic” Bill Murray film?  Do you think about how much you love winter, or look forward to spring?  Or do you think about your last Regional AWOP meeting and how much you enjoyed hearing the host state kick-off the meeting with a beloved presentation?!?  The focus of this article is on how you might enhance your groundhog presentation and really “WOW” your fellow AWOPers and management the next time your state hosts its regional AWOP meeting.

The Area Wide Optimization Program has been around since the late 1990s and many states have participated in their regional AWOP for over 10 years!  In the beginning, quarterly AWOP meetings were actually conducted four times per year, and the agenda of each meeting always included an opening presentation by the host state AWOP team members to their managers.  The purpose of this presentation was to provide a general understanding of the program for each set of state managers.  The presentation would include information on the AWOP goals, targeted performance improvement activities, status component rankings, maintenance activities, and performance impacts.  The initial presentation was developed by the NOLT and provided to each state’s AWOP team.  In the early days, there was very little modification of the initial presentation, so that the regular AWOP participants heard the same presentation over and over as it was used by different states.  That is when one clever AWOPer from the early days applied the phrase “Groundhog Day presentation” to this opening act, and the name stuck.  [Hint:  that clever AWOPer lives in New Orleans and serves up a mean Crawfish Boil, Cajun style]

Eventually the opening presentation by the host state became outdated and redundant even for management as some of the managers had already sat through the original a few times.  The groundhog presentation did not adequately describe how AWOP had evolved since the early days, and expanded to include disinfection by-product (DBP) optimization and the development of groundwater and distribution system optimization programs.  The groundhog presentation may not have to lose its popular name, but should be changing to keep current with the changes in AWOP so that our managers (and each of us) are well informed and can accurately describe the elements of the program.  This article will provide some suggestions for revamping those worn-out “groundhog” presentations and infusing new energy into the opening act of our AWOP quarterly meetings!

The host state’s presentation is typically held immediately before all of the state report-outs.  If the host agency managers are unfamiliar with AWOP, the presentation should include a healthy dose of AWOP basics, but if the managers are familiar with AWOP, the presentation might go easy on the AWOP basics and instead showcase AWOP activities and long-term performance impacts.  It is suggested that states separate the introductory presentation from the report out of recent specific activities; which typically follows immediately after the groundhog presentation.   The opening presentation can be anything you want it to be, this is an opportunity to gain support for the program and showcase the great work that you do!

Potential Outline of a “Robust” Groundhog Presentation

  • AWOP 101 (background, why optimize, program components, etc): The first part of the presentation might include a description of AWOP, objectives of optimization (especially  public health impacts), the benefits of AWOP, and the AWOP components (Status, Targeted Performance Improvements (TPI), and Maintenance).  This description could also include a map of the AWOP network and brief description of the history of your state program. All of these resources are available on the ASDWA website’s “AWOP: Background Information” page [www.asdwa.org/awopbackground] and “AWOP States Only: Available Resource Documents” page [www.asdwa.org/awopstatesonly].
  • Your State’s [INSERT STATE NAME] AWOP: Under this section, consider discussing the technical areas of focus and water quality goals that your state has adopted.  Your status component criteria and system rankings could be discussed, as well as the TPI activities your AWOP implements, and maintenance activities (in-staff training, integration, etc) that you do.  Remember to include all technical areas (e.g., DBPs, distribution system, membrane, slow sand optimization), not just turbidity – and include as much – or as little – of this information (as appropriate for the audience).  A summary of all of the optimization goals are in the “AWOP States Only: Available Resource Documents” section of the ASDWA website [www.asdwa.org/awopstatesonly].
  • State’s AWOP Impacts: The third part of the presentation should be focused on AWOP impacts.  AWOP impacts can be documented in many forms, including “population served by optimized water” graphs, graphs of system-specific performance improvements, testimonials, cost savings examples, number of plants in your awards program, or pictures of your optimization team in action.  Be creative – and for inspiration you can refer to the AWOP Impacts presentations from the 2009 National AWOP meeting in the “AWOP States Only: Available Resource Documents” section of the website [www.asdwa.org/awopstatesonly].
  • Regional and National AWOP: The fourth part of the presentation is an opportunity to highlight your state’s role as part of the regional and national AWOP network.  This can be a great opportunity to discuss the regional activities that your state has participated in and what is going on at the national level.  Examples might include multi-state technical training activities, training activities that were conducted during regional planning meetings, the biennial national AWOP meeting, etc.  You could mention the DBP optimization program, distribution system optimization program, groundwater optimization program, or integration project, especially if your state AWOP is expanding to include these activities.  This material can be extracted from NOLT reports included in past Regional planning meeting notes packages, available on the AWOP States Only Regional pages of the website [Regional pages are accessed through the AWOP States Only page at http://www.asdwa.org/awopstatesonly%5D.  NOLT facilitators could also provide current information on these activities.
  • State’s AWOP Vision and Goals: The final part of the presentation should focus on program goals and needs.  You might discuss a planned TPI activity (e.g., starting up PBT) and what support is needed to achieve this goal.  You could discuss the areas of the Self Assessment that you want to improve on and how you plan on doing this.  You can refer to the State AWOP Self Assessment and/or the NOLT’s vision, mission, and values statements in the “AWOP States Only: Available Resource Documents” section of the website.  Ultimately, this is your opportunity to show your vision for the program and hopefully, how your manager could assist you in achieving that vision.

Now that you are motivated to update your groundhog presentation, you might refer to some example presentations from the AWOP network.  Several examples of state groundhog presentations are included on the ASDWA website under the “AWOP States Only: Available Resource Documents” section of the website.  If you would like to request a username and password to access the AWOP States Only pages, or need assistance locating the referenced materials, please contact Anthony DeRosa of ASDWA at aderosa@asdwa.org.

We look forward to seeing a new generation of groundhog presentations!

Results of the Turbidity Optimization Goals Survey

By Larry D. DeMers – Process Applications, Inc.

The May 2010 issue of AWOP News included an article on the updated turbidity optimization goals preferred by the NOLT as the basis for AWOP.  Concurrently, the NOLT Communications Workgroup developed a survey to determine how the turbidity goals are being implemented within the network and to document state-specific variations of the goals.  The survey was initially sent to the AWOP regional contacts in Spring 2010 and was subsequently forwarded to the AWOP states.  Completed survey forms were received from fifteen of the AWOP states.  Due to the timing of the article, the survey responses, and feedback from three regional AWOP meetings, feedback from states on their plans to update their turbidity goals has also been obtained.  This article summarizes the responses to the turbidity goals survey and the feedback received thus far on the turbidity optimization goals updates.

Turbidity Goals Survey Response

The survey asked the AWOP states if they have formally adopted the optimization goals and sent letters to appropriate water systems.  All of the responding states have introduced the goals to their systems, either through formal letters, posters, or presentations at annual operator schools.  Several states provided example letters that they sent to their water systems, encouraging them to participate in AWOP and to outline the goals.  The Louisiana AWOP letter includes the optimization goals, the annual performance data summary from the Optimization Assessment Spreadsheet, and the plant ranking.  It is sent to all of the surface water systems annually.

A summary of the updated sedimentation basin optimization goals presented in the survey is shown in Table 1.  All of the states responding to the survey have adopted the 1 to 2 NTU settled water turbidity goal based on average raw water turbidity.  The basis for assessing the goal is split, with 60 percent of the states basing the goal on individual sedimentation basin performance and the remainder on combined settled water turbidity.  The response to frequency of sampling was typically four-hour intervals; however, three states only required sampling once per day.  At least three states are proposing to update this goal area by including the 15-minute frequency for plants using continuous reading turbidimeters to monitor their sedimentation process.  Although not specifically mentioned in the optimization goals survey, a few states provided information on their goals for raw water turbidity monitoring.  Virginia’s optimization goals include monitoring for raw water turbidity on a minimum two-hour interval.

 

Table 2 includes the updated filtration optimization goals.  Responding states almost universally selected 0.10 NTU as their filtration turbidity optimization goal.  The Texas AWOP team has developed an expanded filtration goal that considers four criteria (i.e., 100 percent of all filter readings ≤ 0.5 NTU, 99 percent of all filter readings ≤ 0.3 NTU, 95 percent of all filter readings ≤ 0.1 NTU, and 90 percent of individual filter readings ≤ 0.1 NTU).  About half of the states apply this goal to both individual filter effluent (IFE) and combined filter effluent (CFE).  The remaining states apply the goal to either CFE (four states) or IFE only (three states).  In response to frequency of sampling, state responses reflect changing regulations as well as the proposed optimization frequency.  For those states applying the filtration goal to IFE turbidity, the frequency of sampling was typically at least 15 minutes, and four states are proposing changing the frequency to one minute.  For those states applying the goal to CFE, the frequency was at least every four hours, with one state proposing changing the frequency to one minute.  Most of the states identified 0.30 NTU as the maximum individual filter turbidity optimization goal, although one referenced the LT2 regulation.

 

 

The updated post filter backwash performance goals are summarized in Table 3, and they are differentiated by the availability of filter-to-waste (FTW) capability.  Three of the responding states did not report having post filter backwash performance goals.  The remaining responding states have performance goals almost identical to those listed in Table 3 for plants without FTW capability.  The related Texas goals allow plants without FTW capability 30 minutes to achieve the 0.10 NTU goal.  States reported performance goals for plants with FTW capability the same as those identified in Table 3, with three exceptions.  Oregon, Texas, and Virginia have established a maximum turbidity goal during FTW (i.e., 0.30 NTU for Oregon and Texas, 0.3 NTU for Virginia) and a maximum FTW duration (i.e., 15 minutes for Oregon and Virginia, 30 minutes for Texas).  Alabama requires all of their surface water plants to have FTW capability.  Regarding the submittal of post backwash performance data to the state, two responding states, Texas and Virginia, receive these data through their MORs.  A previous article in the August 2009 edition of AWOP News describes the Virginia Optimization Program, including the data submittal requirements for plants to participate in the Virginia Excellence in Performance Awards program.  The Iowa and Oregon AWOP teams reported that they have plants collecting these data if they have been or are currently participating in a Performance Based Training series.  This is also the case for other AWOP states recently completing microbial PBTs (i.e., Louisiana, West Virginia).

The most common response regarding data collection to determine plant performance relative to the optimization goals was use of the monthly operating reports (MORs) to obtain turbidity data.  Some states reported success with the plant staff entering their turbidity data into the Optimization Assessment Spreadsheet (OAS).  The Iowa AWOP team reported that at least 30 percent of their plants are submitting turbidity data using the OAS.  The Pennsylvania AWOP team has established a data entry portal (WebOAS) on their drinking water website for plant staff to enter their turbidity data.  At least six states reported that turbidity data is submitted electronically to their office, either through use of an electronic MOR, submittal of data using the OAS or simpler spreadsheet template, or data entry to a website.

 

 

Some overall observations from the turbidity optimization goals survey are summarized below for the responding AWOP states.

  • States have provided their optimization goals to their surface water systems through a combination of mechanisms, including direct letters to the systems, distribution of posters, and presentations at annual training schools.
  • All states have consistently adopted the sedimentation turbidity optimization goals of 1 and 2 NTU based on source water turbidity targets.  States are split on applying the goals to individual sedimentation basins versus combined settled water.  A perception may exist for some states that a performance goal can only be established if data is being submitted to the state to assess performance against the goal.
  • All states have consistently adopted the filtration optimization goal of 0.10 NTU, with some minor variations.  Differences exist on whether this goal is applied to individual filters, combined filter effluent, or both.  As is the case with the settled water goal, a similar perception may exist with some states that a performance goal can only be established if data is routinely available to the state so that performance can be assessed against the goal.
  • A few states responded that they have not adopted post filter backwash turbidity goals.
  • Those states having post filter backwash turbidity goals responded that their goals were very similar to the updated goals.  Two states responded that their post filter backwash goals are the same, regardless of whether the plant has FTW capability.
  • Most states responded that MORs are the most common source for turbidity data to assess performance relative to the goals.  At least six states are receiving turbidity data in an electronic format from some of their plants.

Network Feedback on Updated Turbidity Goals

A few states have either updated their initial optimization goals or are in the process of doing so.  The Oregon AWOP team updated their goals in 2009 to reflect changes in continuous turbidimeter data acquisition and to provide clarification on data collection following FTW.  The updated goals are included on their drinking water program website, along with an extensive collection of drinking water optimization content (http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/dwp/swt.shtml).  The Alabama AWOP team is considering updates to its goals.  In anticipation of the changes, it recently published background information on the updated goals (from AWOP News) in the Alabama optimization newsletter, Drawing the Graph (Sept. 2010 issue).  This information was enhanced further with an article on experience gained through their CPEs and PBT projects, specifically, the impact of changing plant flow rates and filter backwashing on operating filter performance.

As of the publication time of this edition of AWOP News, feedback had been received on the updated turbidity optimization goals at three of the four regional AWOP meetings.  Some of the highlights are summarized here.

  • Several states have used 0.10 NTU (versus 0.1 NTU) for several years as their filtered water turbidity goal.
  • Modification of state AWOP goals could have an impact on existing awards programs.
  • Several states plan to publicize the updated goals by sending letters to their water sys-tems or through their newsletters and websites.
  • All surface water treatment plants are now required to have at least 15-minute data acquisition on individual filters.  Changing the optimization goals to reflect this existing condition would be straight forward.
  • Requiring at least one-minute data acquisition for IFE and CFE could present a major challenge for plants to meet the 0.10 NTU goal.  Excessive operator time may have to be diverted to tracking down short turbidity spikes that are not performance-related.  In addition, there could be a cost required for some plants to modify their SCADA system to provide more frequent data acquisition capability.
  • It is likely that many water systems can capture one-minute turbidity readings from their filters, but obtaining these data from the systems could be challenging.
  • Stating that the turbidity spike during FTW should be minimized may be overlooked by operators.  Consider either excluding this language or including a specific turbidity goal (e.g., 0.30 NTU, similar to the maximum goal for plants without FTW).
  • Implementation of these updated goals (especially the one-minute data acquisition for filtered water) and improved filter backwash recovery performance could significantly enhance public health protection and take optimization to the next level (approaching performance from membrane systems).

    Continue the Discussion

    With this issue of AWOP News, we’re launching our new AWOP News blog.  One advantage that this new format allows is the ability to comment on articles.  Since the turbidity goals update topic is relevant to all AWOP states, continued feedback and discussion on this article is encouraged.  Click the link near the title of this article  to “Leave a Comment”!

    AWOP Planning Meeting Update – September 2010

    One of the key components of the area-wide optimization program (AWOP) is the routine planning meetings held between participating state program personnel, EPA, ASDWA, and the contractor, Process Applications, Inc.  These meetings are part of the strategic implementation process used to sustain the AWOP partnerships and activities (e.g., the network).  The meetings accomplish multiple objectives including:  sharing ideas, agreeing on direction and priorities, providing multi-state support and encouragement to improve program performance, sharing technical and management information and approaches and overall sustaining the AWOP human infrastructure.   The AWOP planning and training activities conducted since the last issue of AWOP News in May 2010 are summarized below.

    Region 3 Planning Meeting – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – June 15 – 16, 2010

    The Region 3 AWOP planning group consisting of participants from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, EPA Region 3, EPA TSC and Process Applications, Inc. met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in June 2010.  The state participants from Pennsylvania participated via teleconference and several participants from EPA TSC participated via video conference.  An update on Microbial Optimization Goals was presented for the states to consider.  Adopting some aspects of the new goals (e.g., one minute turbidity readings from filters) will require action on the part of the state’s water utilities to implement.  Each state reported back on their site selection and start-up considerations for participating in a DBP PBT.  Challenges existed in getting multiple facilities to participate.  Additionally the cost of equipment and testing was presented as a challenge for some states.  Further discussions were held on the potential models for implementing a multi-state DBP PBT.  The group decided that the individual states would go back and reassess their commitment to the training.  The format established for the training was that a “train the trainer approach” would be used with the training to be provided by NOLT and implementation being completed at a minimum of one facility in each participating state.  It is anticipated that a go or no go decision will be made at the next planning meeting.  The Region 3 AWOP group also conducted a multi-state CPE at the Washington D.C. Dalecarlia Water Treatment Plant in August 2010.  The focus of this event was training for participating state personnel.  The next regularly scheduled meeting of this AWOP network group is scheduled for October 20 – 21, 2010 in Hershey, Pennsylvania and will focus on finalizing an implementation approach for the planned DBP PBT demonstration effort and as appropriate setting up the DBP PBT schedule.

    Region 4 Planning Meeting – Montgomery, Alabama – August 3- 5, 2010

    Region 4 AWOP planning group consisting of Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Region 4, EPA, and PAI met in Montgomery, Alabama in August 2010.  Additional participants from North Carolina and EPA TSC participated via teleconference and web sharing.  Georgia and Florida were not able to attend the meeting due to financial and workload challenges.   A field training event on representative sampling in a distribution system was presented to solicit interest in pursuing development of distribution system optimization skills at future meetings.  It is noted that the heat index during the field efforts was 115 degrees!  The Region 4 states were interested in the distribution system optimization tools and concepts but all were concerned about potential compliance with the Stage 2 rules.  After considerable discussion, the group decided that they would likely be considering a “Targeted Technical Assistance” approach in the near term with the training focused on achieving Stage 2 compliance.  The content of this training might include strategic flushing, discussion of master meter water quality, tank spreadsheet concepts (water age and mixing etc.   All of the states reported a desire in the long term to continue to promote optimization and implementation of AWOP [e.g., try to keep DBP PBT running in the background as well as DS optimization (not aggressively, but keep it on the radar)].  The next Region 4 planning meeting is scheduled to be held in South Carolina December 7 – 9, 2010.  The group will be focusing on developing distribution optimization skills, specifically looking at procedures for conducting investigative sampling to identify potential sites with lower water quality.

    Region 6 Planning Meeting – Baton Rouge, Louisiana – April 27 – 29, 2010

    The Region 6 AWOP group met in Baton Rouge, LA at the end of April 2010.  Participants included representatives from Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, EPA Region 6, ASDWA, TSC, and PAI.  A full meeting schedule included two workshops – one on distribution system performance goals and monitoring and another on AWOP fundamentals.  The distribution system workshop was used to introduce a beta version of the new Water Quality Assessment Spreadsheet.  The spreadsheet has the ability to track multiple water quality parameters for up to thirty sample sites in a distribution system and assess performance relative to site-specific goals.  Participants used the spreadsheet to review distribution system performance data, identify trends, and assess impacts of special studies.  In addition, feedback was provided on the ‘user friendliness’ of the spreadsheet and suggested enhancements.  The final AWOP fundamentals workshop was conducted on the performance impacts component of the AWOP self assessment.  Strategic planning discussions during the meeting included topics on expanding state AWOP teams, turbidity data integrity, and implementing AWOP in a limited environment.  The next meeting of this AWOP group will be a videoconference scheduled for July 19 – 20, 2010.

    Region 6 AWOP Planning Meeting – Remote Meeting via Video Teleconferencing – July 19 – 20, 2010

    The Region 6 AWOP group conducted a strategic planning and training meeting in July through the use of videoconferencing facilities.  Use of the videoconferencing allowed the participation of almost thirty network partners from Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, EPA Region 6, ASDWA, EPA TSC, and PAI.  Technical training in the region has recently focused on distribution system optimization, and part of the meeting agenda included a presentation and workshop on considerations for representative sampling.  The training provided the background for the fall meeting where the group will conduct a field sampling event at a water system in the Des Moines, IA area.  During the videoconference, the group presented their AWOP reports that included activities since the last meeting.  Arkansas participants reported on a turbidity calibration project conducted by a summer intern and a successful consecutive system DBP PBT series.  Iowa participants presented preliminary findings on a viability assessment tool that they are developing as part of their AWOP Integration Pilot Project.  Oklahoma participants reported on the outcomes from their DBP PBT projects and planning for a fall multi-state CPE.  Texas participants are conducting a DBP PBT with the assistance of Region 6 staff.  PBT Session 4 was recently conducted and plants identified DBP control strategies specific to their systems.  Louisiana participants discussed planning for a follow-up session of their microbial PBT series.  The latter part of the meeting included discussion on priority topics including use of MIOX for DBP control, event planning through 2011, and membrane system optimization.  The next meeting and field event is planned for September 20 – 23, 2010 in Des Moines.

    Region 6 AWOP Planning Meeting – Des Moines, Iowa – September 20 – 23, 2010

    The Region 6 AWOP group traveled to Des Moines, Iowa in September to attend a fall planning meeting and 1 day field training event.  Participants included AWOP partners from Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, EPA Region 6, EPA TSC, and PAI.  The field training event was conducted in Urbandale, Iowa, a community located outside of Des Moines and one of the consecutive water systems served by Des Moines Water Works.  The training event included a distribution system overview presented by the water system, identification of critical sampling locations by reviewing system maps, and field sampling for chlorine residual, pH, and temperature using the new hydrant and tap sampling devices.  Each of the three sampling teams included one or two utility operators, and about eight locations were sampled in different areas of Urbandale’s distribution system.  The training exercise generated useful information for the water utility that the Iowa DNR staff will be presenting to the utility staff.  In addition, the participants were able to see how the first day of a distribution system field event unfolds since the training was set up to closely follow this protocol.  All of the participants provided positive feedback on the support provided by the water utility and the value of getting first-hand experience collecting samples using the dedicated sampling devices.  The planning meeting included a presentation and discussion on the turbidity goals updates including recent feedback on the goals survey that was sent to the AWOP states earlier this year.  The latter part of the meeting included discussion on priority topics including anticipated performance challenges related to DBP Stage 2 implementation, considerations for including ‘areas of strength’ in CPE exit meetings, verification of disinfection (CT) in plants and small ground water systems, and planning a successful PBT follow-up session.  The next meeting and training event is planned for March 1 – 3, 2011 in Little Rock.  Two technical training topics are under consideration – conducting a full-scale tracer study to support CT studies and presentations on Arkansas’ recently completed consecutive system PBT series.

    Region 10 Planning Meeting – Remote event via Conference Call and iLinc – June 3 – 4, 2010

    The Region 10 AWOP group conducted a strategic planning and training meeting in June through the use of Washington’s file sharing website (iLinc) and conference call facilities.  Participants included representatives from Alaska, Oregon, Washington, EPA Region 10, ASDWA, EPA TSC, and PAI.  State AWOP reports included a discussion by Alaska on their successful implementation of status component inspections to collect optimization information on their water systems, an overview of Washington’s second year at awarding optimization awards (14 plants received awards), and feedback on Oregon’s current microbial PBT project.  A presentation and workshop were included in the meeting agenda on the final AWOP fundamentals topic – the performance impacts component of the AWOP self assessment.  The group identified and discussed strategic AWOP topics including tracking a common microbial performance metric within the region, event planning through 2011, and working with troubled water systems.  The fall AWOP meeting scheduled for October 25 – 29, 2010 will be hosted by Washington and located in the Spokane regional office.  Field events will include an optional site visit to a slow sand filter pilot plant in Walla Walla, Washington and a membrane field event in Idaho.

    Future activities are scheduled as follows:

    October 20 – 21, 2010
    Region 3 AWOP Planning Meeting – Harrisburg, PA

    October 25 – 29, 2010
    Region 10 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – Spokane, Washington

    Week of November 1, 2010
    Region 6 Multi-State CPE – Oklahoma – No NOLT involvement

    December 7 – 9, 2010
    Region 4 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – Rock Hill, SC

    February 2 – 3, 2011
    Region 10 AWOP Planning Meeting and Conference Call using ilinc software

    March 1 – 3, 2011
    Region 6 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Event – Little Rock, AR

    March 22 – 23, 2011
    Region 4 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – R4 Atlanta, GA

    Week of April 11, 2011
    Region 3 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – West Virginia

    May 17 – 19, 2011
    Region 10 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – Anchorage, Alaska

    Week of June 20, 2011
    Region 3 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – Maryland

    July 19 – 20, 2011
    National AWOP Meeting – Cincinnati, OH

    Week of October 3, 2011
    Region 6 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – Austin, TX

    Week of October 17, 2011
    Region 3 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – Virginia

    Week of October 24, 2011
    Region 10 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – Oregon

    November 29 – 30, 2011
    Region 4 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – NC

    The Optimization State

    News and views from the AWOP states.  Please use this for your enlightenment, enrichment and maybe even your entertainment!  AND think about what your state wants to share for the next AWOP News.

    Pennsylvania

    Pennsylvania and EPA Work on Distribution System Optimization Study: In a continuing effort by Pennsylvania to develop a distribution system optimization program that is consistent with the most recent protocols and monitoring techniques, Pennsylvania staff participated in an EPA Area Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) Distribution System Optimization field event in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on August 24-27, 2010.  This was the sixth detailed study conducted by the AWOP Distribution System Optimization Team on a Pennsylvania system.

    Pennsylvania staff worked with a team of industry leaders in the field of distribution system optimization on a rigorous 4-day comprehensive evaluation of the Greater Johnstown Water Authority system.  The purpose of the field event was to gather comprehensive distribution system data utilizing a calculated flush time distribution system sample collection protocol.  The goal of this sample protocol is to establish a consistent method that will provide an accurate and representative sample of water quality at a specific point in the distribution system.  Both fire hydrants and residential taps were evaluated using this protocol.  Extensive staff interviews were also incorporated as part of this field event.  The interviews are used to evaluate the system’s administrative and management capabilities as it relates to the implementation of distribution system optimization.

    In addition, continual monitoring equipment was deployed at two of the system’s storage tanks.  The equipment monitored for turbidity, free chlorine, pH, conductivity and temperature.  Currently, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is the only state agency to utilize this valuable monitoring equipment.

    The data collected by the team was used to develop a chlorine map of the distribution system, which is a method of comparatively estimating water age and disinfection by-product (DBP) formation at key locations.  Samples were shipped to a certified lab for definitive TTHM and HAA5 levels to compare with field data.  Ultimately, the data will be used to evaluate the overall chlorine mapping process as an accurate indicator of DBP formation throughout the distribution system.  The information and experience gained during this field event will help assure that Pennsylvania’s distribution system optimization program is developed in a manner consistent with national protocols and standards.  Pennsylvania’s participation on this team of industry leaders is extremely beneficial and will continue via monthly conference calls and semi-annual field events.

    Pennsylvania will follow up with the Greater Johnstown Water Authority with the final report as well as to determine if any special studies or operational changes are occurring based on the information gathered during the event.  A special study approach has been established and was presented to the system to ensure that educated process control decisions are made towards optimization without compromising public health.

    The contact for this activity is Paul Handke at (717) 783-3900 or phandke@state.pa.us.

    Texas

    Texas Optimization Program (TOP): The Texas Optimization Program’s Core Team has had a busy summer, having done a mandatory Comprehensive Performance Evaluation (mCPE), an Optimization CPE (oCPE), and two Special Performance Evaluations (SPEs) since the beginning of June.  Additionally, the team, along with Region 6 EPA, held Session 4 of the Disinfection By-Product Performance Based Training (DBP PBT) in July.

    The Optimization CPE, also a joint project led by Region 6, was done at the City of Port Arthur’s 24 MGD Water Purification Plant.  The City of Port Arthur was selected by EPA as an Environmental Justice Program focus site and the CPE demonstrated that while not optimized, the water treatment plant is not a cause for concern.

    The DBP PBT has been a success with the participating operators, the Core Team, and Region 6.  The original 7 plants are continuing to gather data and have recently begun implementing their individual control strategies.  Session 5 is being held in Austin on October 14 and at that time, the operators from each plant will present data demonstrating whether or not their chosen control strategy has been successful, discuss the findings with the other operators and the trainers, and make a decision on whether or not to continue with that strategy or to try something different.  The final PBT session will be held in Austin in January, 2011.

    Texas continues to participate in the Region 6 AWOP.  Two representatives attended the quarterly meeting in Des Moines in September and they will be participating in the multi-state CPE in Oklahoma in November.

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