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)

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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)

Distribution System Comprehensive Performance Evaluation

During the week of August 26, members of the Optimization Team, in partnership with the Region 4 Area-Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) team, demonstrated the Distribution System Comprehensive Performance Evaluation (DS CPE) in Lawrenceburg, KY. Sixteen trainees participated in this CPE, including representatives from Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Region 4. This CPE was the final in a series of three training CPEs conducted with this AWOP. States anticipate that they will implement this tool (either fully, or “pieces”) to support their Stage 2 DBPR compliance assistance activities, primarily targeting systems with compliance challenges who have a desire to optimize and improve water quality in their system. (Alison Dugan & Matthew Alexander, US EPA TSC)

Distribution System Optimization Training

On July 29 and 30th the Optimization Team, in partnership with the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health (BPH) Area Wide Optimization Team, provided distribution system optimization training to plant and distribution system operators from ten water systems. This training “module” is based on Performance Based Training (PBT) concepts and approach, with the intent of engaging more water systems (compared to a traditional PBT project) with limited facilitation (as opposed to PBT). The training focused on the importance of maintaining an adequate disinfectant residual and minimizing disinfection byproducts in the distribution system, as well as approaches for monitoring water quality (including site selection) and water quality data handling. The BPH provided hydrant samplers to all of the participating systems to help them accurately characterize water throughout their systems. Two members from the State of Virginia’s AWOP team also attended and are considering implementing this training with water systems in their state. A second module is planned for spring of 2015, focused on operational strategies to improve water quality once areas of poor water quality have been identified. (Alison Dugan & Tom Waters, US EPA TSC)

Distribution System Comprehensive Performance Evaluation

During the week of June 23rd, members of the Optimization Team, in partnership with the EPA Region 4 Area-Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) members, demonstrated the Distribution System Comprehensive Performance Evaluation (DS CPE) to the Region 4 AWOP in Mt. Airy, NC. This was the second in a series of three planned training CPEs intended to transfer DS CPE skills to the State AWOP participants; ultimately enabling them to conduct DS CPEs with and/or provide technical assistance to water systems challenged with meeting the Stage 2 DBPR or with maintaining a disinfectant residual in their system. Nineteen trainees participated in the CPE, which included representatives from Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and EPA Region 4. (Alison Dugan & Matthew Alexander US EPA, TSC)

Chloraminated Distribution System Field Event

During the week of May 12th, members of the Optimization Team, in partnership with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) and Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), conducted the first 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 is in the process of being adapted to apply to chloraminated water systems. The field event provided an opportunity to field test aspects of the
DS CPE that were recently modified (e.g., additional monitoring parameters) or added (e.g., evaluation of chlorine and ammonia practices) to apply to chloraminated water systems. The event also provided an opportunity to assess the system’s performance relative to the proposed goals for chloraminated water systems. The host system, Oakmont Water Authority, welcomed the feedback from the team during the exit meeting and TSC will request updates on their pursuit of optimization from DEP and the ACHD staff. (Matthew Alexander, Alison Dugan, & Tom Waters US EPA, TSC)

Denny Krieder (Oakmont Water Authority) provides a tour of Oakmont Water Authority’s Hulton Purification Plant to Bill Davis (PAI) and Larry DeMers (PAI).

Denny Krieder (Oakmont Water Authority) provides a tour of Oakmont Water Authority’s Hulton Purification Plant to Bill Davis (PAI) and Larry DeMers (PAI).

 

Tom Waters (USEPA TSC) and Paul Handke (PA DEP) prepare to collect water quality samples as part of the storage tank assessment special study.

Tom Waters (USEPA TSC) and Paul Handke (PA DEP) prepare to collect water quality samples as part of the storage tank assessment special study.