Region 6/7 AWOP Planning Meeting and Workshop 

 TSC’s Optimization Team, in collaboration with EPA Regions 6 and 7, led a technical workshop and strategic planning meeting from May 22-24, 2018, in Lawrence, KS.  Representatives from Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, and Oklahoma attended the meeting and workshop.  States provided updates on their drinking water optimization programs, including program impacts and case studies.  The technical workshop, hosted by the City of Lawrence Clinton Reservoir Water Treatment Plant, introduced the states to a jar test procedure that may be used to evaluate disinfectant byproduct (DBP) precursor removal.  States may use this procedure to assist drinking water systems that are challenged with DBP compliance issues.  (Matthew Alexander, US EPA/ Technical Support Center).

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Region 10/8 AWOP Planning Meeting and Workshop

The Optimization Team, in collaboration with EPA Region 10, led a technical workshop and strategic planning meeting during May 15 – 17, 2018, in Spokane, WA.  Representatives from Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington attended the meeting and workshop.  Remote participants included representatives from Colorado, Montana and EPA Region 8. The states provided updates on their optimization efforts and impacts of their programs on public health protection.  The technical workshop, hosted by the Vera Water & Power utility located in Spokane Valley, WA focused on tools to evaluate distribution system data integrity. The workshop demonstrated that the approach is directly applicable to a ground water system utilizing multiple wells as the water source.  Representatives of two Tribal utilities and the Indian Health Service also participated in the workshop.  (Richard Lieberman,  Tom Waters,  Alison Dugan  and Matthew Alexander; US EPA/ TSC).

Optimization Program – Region 5 PWSS Directors Meeting

On April 24, 2018, the TSC Optimization team delivered a presentation and participated remotely in a discussion with the EPA Region 5 and their state PWSS Directors about the implementation of the Area-Wide Optimization Program (AWOP). Amy Klei and Eric Oswald, representing the Ohio EPA and the Michigan DEQ, respectively, also shared recent experiences with optimization projects and AWOP. Ohio EPA emphasized the positive response from water system staff and how much state staff members were energized through involvement in the project to apply treatment optimization tools to HAB issues. The Michigan DEQ considers the current investment in staff time to be worth the expected long-term benefits from AWOP participation. The state directors were provided with this information to assist as they consider future participation in AWOP.  (Richard Lieberman, Alison Dugan and Matthew Alexander; US EPA Tecnical Support Center)

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

Microbial / Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) CPE in Partnership with Ohio EPA

The TSC Optimization team, in partnership with Ohio EPA, conducted a developmental HAB CPE at the City of Delphos Water Treatment Plant in Delphos, OH during the week of March 19-23, 2018. This CPE was the last of a series of four pilot CPEs designed to develop an optimization evaluation tool for water treatment plants (WTPs) challenged by HABs. The CPE also served as a training opportunity for Ohio EPA staff, which included participants from all of the state’s district offices and central office. The evaluation at the Delphos WTP identified factors that could limit the plant’s performance during a HAB. Delphos staff were receptive to the week-long evaluation. They indicated that the CPE findings were informative and identified plans for further study to address the identified factors. Future engagement with Ohio EPA on water treatment plant optimization to address HABs is under consideration.

Tom Waters, Rick Lieberman, Alison Dugan and Matt Alexander; US EPA/ TSC.

Kansas Kick-off Meeting

The TSC Optimization Team and ASDWA held a kick-off meeting with Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) drinking water program representatives in Topeka July 12-13, 2016. The purpose of the meeting was to review the Area-wide Optimization Program (AWOP) structure, activities, benefits, and participant roles/responsibilities. Based on that review, KDHE representatives decided to formally commit to the program. The meeting then focused on the details of: data management and other activities needed to adopt the program goals; informing water utilities of the state’s commitment to the program; and monitoring water treatment plant performance against optimization goals. KDHE staff explored methods of tracking plant performance within the existing state data collection activities and developed action steps to begin program implementation. The optimization team is excited to welcome the KDHE as the most recent addition to the AWOP network. (Rick Lieberman, US EPA, TSC)

Hydrant Sampler Website and Training Video

On May 4, the website www.epa.gov/hydrant-sampler was launched with a YouTube training video produced by the Optimization Team to describe how to use a hydrant sampler. This tool, developed by the team, allows users to collect representative distribution system water quality samples in a controlled, safe manner. The website describes the parts required to assemble a hydrant sampler as well as the procedure for appropriately using it.

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)

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)