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

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)

Distribution System Optimization Pilot Training in Pennsylvania: 

On October 24th, the Optimization Team partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to pilot a workshop on Distribution System Optimization (DSO) for parent and consecutive water systems that use chloramine disinfection.  The workshop topics included an overview on DSO, discussion among the seven participating systems about their current monitoring activities and objectives, a review of sampling and analysis procedures, and discussion of potential (enhanced) distribution system monitoring. Candidate future topics were also discussed, including fundamentals of chloramines, strategies to effectively manage a system during a chlorine conversion (burn), and approaches for improving water quality and addressing nitrification. The next workshop is tentatively planned for Spring 2018.  (Alison Dugan and Matthew Alexander, US EPA TSC)

Region 4 AWOP Strategic Planning Meeting and Workshop

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with Region 4 and ASDWA, led a training exercise and strategic planning meeting August 16-18, 2016 in Marion, NC. Participants included state drinking water program representatives from Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina. States presented an overview of AWOP activities and accomplishments and discussed a variety of implementation issues. The technical workshop focused on distribution system optimization (DSO). Water system maps, historical water quality data, and results from investigative sampling performed by NC staff members were utilized by the participants to identify areas of the DS susceptible to water quality issues and propose studies to address those issues. State action plans were developed to support implementation of DSO approaches, including collaboration with Technical Assistance providers as appropriate. (Richard Lieberman, 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)

Chloraminated Distribution System Optimization Development

During the summer of 2015, members of the Optimization Team piloted two distribution system comprehensive performance evaluations (DS CPE) at chloraminated water systems. The first was conducted in Archdale, NC, in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The second was in Greenville, PA, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. One system had very stable influent water quality that they were able to maintain throughout their system, while the other system was challenged with very unstable influent water quality. Piloting the approach at two very different systems validated that the tool could be successfully applied to a variety of system, ranging from those nearly optimized to those nearly out of compliance. The team will next be developing approaches to address water quality concerns through a technical-assistance or operator training project. (Matthew Alexander, & Alison Dugan, 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)

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)

Distribution System Comprehensive Performance Evaluation

During the week of September 8th, members of the Optimization Team, in partnership with the EPA Region 6 and Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), conducted a field event to support the development of a Distribution System Comprehensive Performance Evaluation (DS CPE) for chloraminated water systems. The DS CPE protocol was originally developed for water systems that use free chlorine as a secondary disinfectant. As a result, the existing DS CPE protocol is in the process of being modified to apply to chloraminated water systems, which was supported by the findings and experience gained from this event. The field event was hosted by two systems, Marion County Regional Water District, a parent system, and Yellville Water Works, one of their six consecutive systems. Typically DS CPEs are only conducted at a single water system, so this event allowed the unique opportunity of implementing the tool at two systems with a parent-consecutive system relationship. Both systems welcomed the feedback from the team during the exit meeting and the Optimization Team will request updates on their mutual pursuit of optimization from ADH staff. (Matthew Alexander, Alison Dugan, & Tom Waters, US EPA TSC)