The Optimization State – Texas

These are some news and views submitted by 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 Optimization State.

A long time member of the Texas Optimization Core Team, Don Tharp, has retired after working for the State of Texas for 35 years.  Don began his career with the state as a Registered Sanitarian at the Texas Department of Health and he continued to work in the Public Drinking Water Program when it was transferred to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.  He joined the Core Team in 1997, when two dedicated optimization positions (DOPs) were added in the Field Operations Division Regional Offices.  Don participated in field events, provided technical assistance to operators, and was a valued resource for TCEQ staff and management.  He plans to continue to be active in the drinking water community.

The Core Team has a mandatory Comprehensive Performance Evaluation scheduled in May and a Special Performance Evaluation and Data Audit planned for June.  We will be participating in the annual Public Drinking Water Conference in August, where we will present findings from the Disinfection By-Product Performance Based Training (DBP PBT).  The PBT participants will have a follow-up meeting in conjunction with the conference and will present updates on their projects.

The annual Public Drinking Water Staff Training was cancelled due to budget constraints, so we will provide training to the field staff by video-teleconference (VTC) later in the year.  We’re also working with EPA Region 6 to provide a workshop on rules and SDWIS, which will be available throughout the state via VTC.

Since the state’s 2012-2013 budget has not been finalized, the Team’s work plan for fiscal year 2012 has not been finalized either.  However, we are looking forward to hosting the Region 6 AWOP quarterly planning meeting in October and we’re making arrangements for providing training on different methods of acquiring electronic data at surface water treatment plants.

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AWOP Planning Meeting Update – Region 3 April 2011

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.

Region 3 Planning Meeting – Falling Waters, West Virginia – April 12 – 14, 2011

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 Falling Waters, West Virginia in April 2011. In addition representatives from North Carolina attended the meeting.  A major objective of this meeting was to kick off a train the trainer series on the DBP PBT protocol.  The focus of the first session was to introduce and develop DBP PBT facilitator skills.  Each of the state participants are expected to take the training materials back to their respective state programs and, if necessary, train other state facilitators to support actual DBP PBT events for selected water utilities in their states.  The training materials used for this initial session represent the current enhanced materials from the South Carolina and Kentucky DBP PBT pilot development programs.  The train the trainer approach being used in Region 3 is designed to encourage immediate implementation of the newly acquired skills transferred to the state program attendees.  Some of the challenges is the train the trainer approach were discussed and plans made to implement training efforts at the individual states.  Pennsylvania, West Virginia and North Carolina are planning implementation with multiple facilities.  Maryland and Virginia are planning on starting with an individual system.  The next session will cover presentation of Session 1 of the DBP PBT protocol and will be held on June 21 – 22, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.

AWOP Planning Meeting Update – Region 4 March 2011

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.

Region 4 Planning Meeting – Decatur, Georgia – March 22 – 23, 2011

Region 4 AWOP planning group consisting of Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Region 4, and EPA/PAI/ASDWA met in Decatur, Georgia in March 2011.  Additional participants from North Carolina and EPA TSC attended the meeting via teleconference.  Georgia was not able to attend the meeting due to financial and workload challenges.  A presentation and workshop was held on the first day to introduce and solicit feedback on the revised State AWOP Self Assessment.  Feedback on the content of the new self assessment was provided by the workshop participants.  In general the states felt that the self assessment had been enhanced.  A joint presentation on the approach and outcome of the second DBP PBT pilot program in KY was presented by TSC and KY.  The presentations established the much revised approach to the DBP PBT materials and demonstrated improved performance at multiple KY utilities.  KY is pursuing a DBP PBT on their own with an additional six facilities following the successful completion of the pilot.  The state presented their annual AWOP reports which continued to demonstrate the positive impacts on plant performance, cost savings, training benefits and increased professionalism provided by AWOP participation and implementation.  A broad range of topics was discussed during the planning meeting demonstrating the maturity of the Region 4 AWOP.  All of the states are pursing the construction of hydrant samplers and have plans in various stages of development to transfer representative distribution sampling to their constituents.  The next meeting will be held in Tallahassee, FL on November 29 – 30, 2011.  The technical topic to be discussed will be the tank mixing spreadsheet supplemented by case histories from EPA and/or various utility examples provide by the participating states.

AWOP Planning Meeting Update – Region 6 March 2011

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. Region 6 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Event:  Little Rock, Arkansas – March 1 – 3, 2011 The spring Region 6 AWOP meeting and field training event was held in Little Rock, Arkansas in early March.  Participants included AWOP partners from Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma (by conference call), Texas, EPA Region 6, TSC, and PAI.  The field training event was conducted in Malvern, Arkansas, a community located about 40 miles southwest of Little Rock.  The training event, coordinated and facilitated by AR staff, included an in-plant special study on determining the T10/T ratio for a clearwell used for disinfection credit.  The group was divided into four teams, and each team was responsible for measuring either a fluoride or sodium tracer over time and determining the resulting T10/T ratio.  The training exercise proved to be a valuable experience on the details required to set up a tracer study and provided practical information that the states could use in assessing disinfection capability in their plants.  The planning meeting included a presentation and workshop on the updated AWOP self-assessment.  The feedback provided by the participants focused primarily on the ability of the states to assess performance for multiple water quality goals and different numbers and types of water systems as well as how the revised self-assessment results would be interpreted by others.  The latter part of the meeting included discussion on priority topics including ‘optimizing’ the meeting time to include more time for discussion topics, addressing data integrity issues identified during plant inspections and CPEs, and approaches for conducting field staff training.  The next meeting and training event is planned for October 4 – 6, 2011 in Austin.  The field event will focus on turbidity data integrity and methods of reviewing on-site plant performance data (e.g., operational logs, SCADA downloads).

Region 6 AWOP Team 3 – Cindy Haynie (TX), Mac Faulkner (AR), Bill Davis (EPA R6), Don Fiegel (AR)

The Optimization State – Florida

Here are some news and views submitted by 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 Optimization State.

The Florida AWOP team is pleased that the program is gearing up again after budget constraints resulted in a reduction in traveling and therefore a reduction in site visits and system evaluations.  In September, AWOP team member Greg Parker retired from FDEP after many active years in the program.  Greg’s position was filled by Jennifer Porter, P.E.  Jen joins FDEP from the private sector, where she spent 15 years specializing in water and wastewater treatment plant design, distribution system design, and utility planning.  Prior to that work, Jen graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Environmental Engineering.  In October 2010, Jen got her first experience with AWOP when she attended a multi-state AWOP Comprehensive Performance Evaluation (CPE) in North Carolina.  Jen plans to utilize the DBP-CPE techniques learned during that AWOP event in order to assist systems in Florida that are experiencing issues with DBPs.

With disinfection byproducts as the focus for this year in Florida AWOP, we have identified candidate systems for CPEs based on non-compliance with TTHM and HAA5 standards.  Our first CPE was conducted for the City of Cocoa in May.

Florida will be hosting the Region IV AWOP Planning Meeting in Tallahassee on November 29 and 30, 2011.  During that meeting, and with a few statewide CPEs under our belt, we hope to gain insight into maintaining a successful program from other Region IV AWOP teams.  Proposed meeting topics include the development of performance-limiting factors for DBP CPEs.

AWOP Planning Meeting Update – Region 10 February 2011

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.

Region 10 Planning Meeting – Remote event via Conference Call and iLinc Web Hosting:  February 2 – 3, 2011

The Region 10 AWOP group conducted a 2-day remote planning meeting in February using conference call and web hosting facilities.  Participants included representatives from Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Utah, EPA Region 10, ASDWA, TSC, and PAI.  State AWOP reports included an update by Alaska on common findings from their status component inspections and implications with other drinking water program activities, a discussion by Washington on the significant changeover in their agency management positions as well as planning for their third PBT series, feedback on Oregon’s efforts to develop their first state-wide turbidity performance graph, and discussion from Utah on strategies to gain internal support for their AWOP efforts including recognition by EPA Region 8.  An update was provided during the meeting from the Slow Sand Filtration Work Group on the identification of appropriate performance goals for this biological filtration process.  Priority topics discussed during the meeting included identifying internal support strategies for program managers, further defining the consensus approach for turbidity performance trending in the region, and developing membrane filtration CPE criteria.  A late spring AWOP meeting is scheduled for May 17 – 19, 2011 and will be hosted by Alaska in their Anchorage office.  A field event is planned on demonstration of Alaska’s Status Component Inspection protocol and application of this tool to other Region 10 AWOP activities.

AWOP Planning Meeting Update – Region 4 December 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.

Region 4 Planning Meeting – Rock Hill, South Carolina – December 9 – 11, 2010

Region 4 AWOP planning group consisting of Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Region 4, and EPA/PAI met in Rock Hill, South Carolina in December 2010.  Additional participants from Alabama and EPA TSC participated via teleconference.  Georgia and Florida were not able to attend the meeting and due to financial and workload challenges.   A field training event was conducted in conjunction with the Rock Hill Utilities staff.  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 sampling devices.  Each of the three sampling teams included one plant operator and one person from the distribution system staff.  Approximately fifteen locations were sampled in different areas of Rock Hill’s distribution system.  The training exercise generated useful information for the water utility who participated in the workshop associated with the field training event and discussions of the findings.  The training event also showcased the first day of the National Leadership Team’s distribution system field development events.  It was explained that the training activities were a component of the distribution optimization system protocol that is currently being developed.    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.  A major discussion at the planning meeting was methods to initiate distribution system optimization by the state programs.  All of the states are planning on demonstrating the representative sampling procedure in some venue or another.  The next Region 4 planning meeting is scheduled to be held in Decatur, Georgia on March 22 – 23, 2011.

AWOP Planning Meeting Update – Region 10 October 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.

Region 10 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Events:  Spokane, Washington – October 25 – 28, 2010

A Region 10 planning meeting and field training event was hosted by the Washington DOH treatment optimization team in October 2010 in Spokane, Washington.  Participants included AWOP partners from Alaska (by conference call), Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Washington, EPA Region 10, TSC, ASDWA (by conference call) and PAI.  The meeting included two field events – one conducted in Walla Walla, Washington at a slow sand filtration pilot project and a second conducted near Sandpoint, Idaho at a membrane treatment plant.  The first field event was included in the meeting agenda on the front-end travel day since Walla Walla was located on the travel route for several of the meeting participants.  The city and their engineering consultant provided a presentation and tour of their slow sand filter pilot plant that they are evaluating to meet the LT2 surface water treatment requirements.  The field event provided an opportunity to learn about design considerations for slow sand filter pilots, review performance data, and build the knowledge basis on optimization considerations for this process.  The second field event was conducted at a small water system that had experienced failed membrane modules.  The system operators and accountant provided a tour of the system and described the treatment and financial issues they have faced with their system.  This field event provided an opportunity for the Region 10 AWOP group to contrast a troubled membrane system with well-functioning systems that have been visited during past field events.  Planning meeting topics included developing a consensus approach for developing a region-wide turbidity performance graph and identifying the next steps in developing slow sand filtration optimization criteria.  The next meeting for the group will be a conference call supported by web hosting to be conducted on February 2 – 3, 2011.

AWOP Planning Meeting Update – Region 3 October 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.

Region 3 Planning Meeting – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – October 20-21, 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 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in October 2010.  Several additional participants from EPA TSC participated via phone. Each state reported back in detail on the various components of the site selection guidelines that had been provided to them by the NOLT to select candidates for a DBP PBT..  It was formally established that each of the Region 3 states would participate in a “train the trainer approach”.  Training will be provided by NOLT and implementation will be pursued by each state at a minimum of one facility in each participating state.  Every state brought information for at least two facilities and if they prove to be viable candidates it is anticipated that a minimum of two utilities per state will participate.  The states are planning on involving multiple staff in the training and implementation effort.   The cost of equipment and testing to support the project remained a challenge.  It was also established that North Carolina, a Region 4 AWOP state, may be interested in joining the Region 3 DBP PBT effort.   A call is scheduled for January 2011 to finalize participants and the site selection activities.  Additional topics addressed during the meeting were approaches for addressing potential DBP compliance challenges associated with the new regulations and methods of using set aside funds to support AWOP activities.  Several states mentioned that Connecticut was expressing preliminary interest in AWOP and they were interested in inviting them to be part of the Region 3 AWOP efforts.     The next regularly scheduled meeting of this AWOP network group is scheduled for the week of April 11, 2011 at a West Virginia utility.  The meeting will focus on DBP PBT facilitator training for the participating state personnel.

The Optimization State – Alabama

These are some news and views submitted by 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 Optimization State.

Alabama has recently released their latest AWOP newsletter – Drawing the Graph.  The newsletter highlights activities in the state’s optimization program.  This issue shares how many of the state’s surface water systems are optimized – 38%.  There is also an article on the “costs” of optimization that really shows what a water system gets for their investment.  On the technical side, the newsletter examines automatic flushing for DBP control and Extended Terminal Subfluidization Wash.

You can review the Alabama newsletter HERE.   Is this something your state might be able to do?