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).

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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)

Drinking Water Optimization Training

During the week of March 7, 2016, the TSC Optimization Team led a training class for drinking water staff with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). Topics addressed during the 2½ day class include surface water treatment optimization; assessing water system turbidity performance and data interpretation; and turbidity sampling, testing, and data development. A turbidity data integrity workshop was conducted at a nearby water treatment plant and provided participants the opportunity to identify challenges that may lead to inaccurate turbidity and disinfection data. Participants concluded their training by summarizing their findings and developing action steps to implement aspects of their training in their work.  This was the first class in a series of three that the KDHE will complete as they prepare to join the EPA Regions 6/7 Area-Wide Optimization Program (AWOP). (Alison Dugan, 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.

Distribution System Comprehensive Performance Evaluation

During the week of June 10th, members of the Optimization Team, in partnership with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Distribution System Optimization Coordinator, provided training to additional DEP staff on the Distribution System Comprehensive Performance Evaluation (DS CPE) protocol.  This CPE training event enhanced understanding of distribution system related issues (especially related to water quality), which will help with the implementation of “regular” drinking water program activities.  The trainees provided excellent feedback on potential applications and implementation of the DS CPE protocol.  In the near-term, DEP staff hope to use elements of the DS CPE to provide Stage 2 DBPR compliance assistance to water systems.  Longer-term, it’s possible that the DS CPE could be incorporated into their established Filter Plant Performance Evaluation program, which could have a significant positive impact on distribution system water quality. Participants described the DS CPE as an excellent training tool for state staff, and the training approach used could be effective in other AWOP states or Regions.   (Alison Dugan and Matthew Alexander, US EPA TSC)

Continuous chlorine monitor used to collect data to support the storage tank assessment special study

Continuous chlorine monitor used to collect data to support the storage tank assessment special study

Paul Handke (PA DEP) collecting chlorine samples from a sample tap

Paul Handke (PA DEP) collecting chlorine samples from a sample tap

Paul Handke (PA DEP) collecting in-tank samples (Note:  In-tank sampling is not a required element of the DS CPE)

Paul Handke (PA DEP) collecting in-tank samples (Note: In-tank sampling is not a required element of the DS CPE)