Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Water Treatment Optimization Approach Development Meeting with Ohio EPA

TSC’s Optimization Team met with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) on April 19, 2016 to discuss a joint water treatment optimization pilot project for HABs. Project objectives include developing optimization tools and approaches for water systems and state staff, including a Comprehensive Performance Evaluation (CPE) to identify factors that could limit plant performance during a HAB. Meeting attendees included Ohio EPA managers, Central Office staff, and staff from each of Ohio EPA’s five district offices. Discussions focused on understanding Ohio EPA’s experience with HAB treatment, and developing and prioritizing site selection criteria. The team also discussed project scope, vision, and schedule, roles and responsibilities, and next steps. (Tom Waters, Rick Lieberman, & Alison Dugan, US EPA, TSC).

Automated Hydrant Flushing Program in Flint, MI

TSC’s Optimization Team, in collaboration with ORD, developed a low-flow automated flushing program to improve chlorine residual throughout the City of Flint while not disturbing the development of scale in pipes. During the week of April 11th, approximately 130 samples were collected throughout the City to identify areas of low chlorine residual. During the week of April 18th, 13 automated flushing devices were installed on hydrants in areas where low chlorine residual was identified. Both of these activities included training for utility staff by the Optimization Team. TSC will continue to support the City of Flint as they carry out and expand their automated flushing program and engage in other distribution system optimization activities.  (Matthew Alexander,  Alison Dugan, & Ouro Koumai, US EPA, TSC)

Alabama’s “Drawing the Graph” Newsletter

Alabama’s Area Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) has recently published Drawing the Graph – April 2016 Issue highlighting optimization activities in the state.  This newsletter includes information about the status of Alabama’s water systems compared to the optimization goals and a model news release to help the plants receiving awards publicize their success.  The newsletter also includes a listing of all the optimization goals for Alabama.  Check out this newsletter to see how your colleagues in Alabama are doing with AWOP.

Introduction to Comprehensive Performance Evaluations (CPEs)” Webinar Training for Ohio EPA

The TSC optimization team led webinar-based CPE training for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency on April 7. This training was conducted as the first activity in a pilot project with Ohio EPA. The project objective is to develop water treatment optimization tools and approaches for use by water systems and state staff to prepare for and respond to harmful algal bloom (HAB) events and assist in addressing toxin removal at water treatment plants. Forty-five (45) staff from Ohio EPA’s Central Office and five districts participated. (Tom Waters, US EPA, TSC).

Region 3 Area-Wide Optimization Program

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with Region 3 and ASDWA, held a strategic planning meeting and technical workshop April 5-7, 2015.  The state of Connecticut, which has participated as an “adopted” member of the EPA Region 3 AWOP for several years, hosted the meeting. Representatives from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, and EPA Region 1 attended to learn more about the program and were joined by participants from the Region 3 AWOP states (Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia).  States reported on their optimization program activities and continue to document positive impacts.  The Region 1 states discussed their respective interest in AWOP and several requested additional information from TSC.

The technical workshop focused on disinfection data integrity, teaching participants how to investigate areas of disinfection data generation, collection and reporting that may be inaccurate (and potentially have a significant impact on public health). Other topics included: applying optimization concepts to corrosion control; helpful start-up tips for new-states (data collection and applicable tools); simultaneous compliance challenges; and approaches for conducting water system inspections using a team approach.  (Alison Dugan, US EPA,TSC)

Region 4 AWOP Planning Meeting Explores Involving Technical Assistance Providers in AWOP

EPA’s Technical Support Center optimization team, in partnership with Region 4 and ASDWA, led a training exercise and Area Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) strategic planning meeting March 29-31, 2016 in Charleston, SC.  Participants included state drinking water program representatives from Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. State staff members presented an overview of their AWOP activities and 2015 accomplishments, and utilized the forum to discuss a variety of relevant drinking water program implementation issues.

 

A special feature of the meeting was the presentation of a possible pilot program to involve third party technical assistance (TA) providers in implementation of AWOP, specifically distribution system optimization (DSO).  TA providers attended from the region’s Rural Water affiliates (Alabama Rural Water Association, Florida Rural Water Association, Tennessee Association of Utility Districts, South Carolina Rural Water Association, Kentucky Rural Water Association, North Carolina Rural Water Association), and Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) organizations (Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Communities Unlimited).   All attendees participated in a day long workshop which focused on facilitation of technical approaches to achieve distribution system optimization at water systems.  The proposed approach divides the training and facilitation duties, with state staff providing the technical training for water systems.  The TA providers would then facilitate the activities with water system staff as they implement the technical tools in their own distribution systems.  After completing the workshop and becoming more familiar with the expectations for all parties, the TA providers and states all embraced this joint implementation approach. Several of the state and TA representatives agreed on action plans to implement this collaborative DSO training approach with water systems during the coming year.  The AWOP National Optimization Leadership Team will monitor the success of the Region 4 pilot and consider expanding the pilot to other regional AWOPs in the future.