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.

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).

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)

Region 10 AWOP Training and Strategic Planning Meeting

The TSC Optimization Team, in partnership with Region 10 and ASDWA, led a strategic implementation meeting and technical workshop from October 7-9, 2014 in Portland OR. State representatives from the drinking water programs in Alaska, Oregon, Utah and Washington reported on ongoing AWOP implementation efforts. Region 8, Colorado and North Dakota drinking water program staff members also attended the meeting and technical workshop to learn more about AWOP. The workshop was conducted at the City of Silverton, OR water treatment plant in cooperation with the plant staff and consulting engineer. The objective was to augment previous disinfection data integrity workshops by providing real world experience with tracer study techniques, the results of which are used in calculating CT values. The workshop was followed by discussions on technical and implementation topics which resulted in action items for effective optimization program implementation. Representatives of R8, CO and ND were very positive about the value of AWOP and will pursue discussions in their home offices about future participation. (Rick Lieberman, US EPA TSC).

Region 3 AWOP Training and Strategic Planning Meeting

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with Region 3 and ASDWA, led a strategic planning meeting and technical training event from August 12-13, 2014 in Petersburg, WV. Participants included state drinking water program representatives from Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. The workshop, held at the Petersburg water treatment plant, focused on disinfection data integrity (assessing the accuracy and consistency of the disinfection monitoring data from sampling through reporting). Other topics for the meeting included broad-scale implementation of distribution system optimization, membrane treatment and SCADA, and the use of third party technical assistance providers to support optimization. Meeting participants plan to incorporate the workshop concepts into their respective state’s PWSS program activities. (Rick Lieberman, 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 Performance Based Training in Alabama

On December 11, 2013, the Optimization Team, in partnership with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), conducted the last session of a Performance Based Training (PBT) pilot project focused on distribution system optimization. A parent water system and six of their purchasing systems, which ranged in size from 3,000 to 40,000 served customers, successfully completed the PBT series. All systems realized reduced disinfection byproducts (DBPs), increased chlorine residual, and a decrease in customer complaints throughout their systems. This was largely attributed to optimization at the water plant and efforts in the distribution systems to reduce water age. The operators also gained an “appreciation” of the importance of collecting, tracking and trending water quality data to assess system performance and address water quality issues. During this session trainers provided a summary of distribution system optimization strategies to improve water quality and encouraged participants to continue optimization as an ongoing activity in their systems. The training materials and lessons learned from this pilot are being utilized by Alabama and other AWOP states to train distribution system operators. (Matthew Alexander, Alison Dugan, & Tom Waters, US EPA TSC).

Shawn Whittle (V.A.W. Water) receiving a certificate of recognition from William McClimans (Alabama Department of Environmental Management)

Shawn Whittle (V.A.W. Water) receiving a certificate of recognition from William McClimans (Alabama Department of Environmental Management)

Kevin Tillman (Cullman County Water District) receiving a certificate of recognition from Laura Taylor (Alabama Department of Environmental Management)

Kevin Tillman (Cullman County Water District) receiving a certificate of recognition from Laura Taylor (Alabama Department of Environmental Management)

Nathan Finley (Hanceville Water and Sewer District) receiving a certificate of recognition from Alison Dugan (U.S. EPA TSC)

Nathan Finley (Hanceville Water and Sewer District) receiving a certificate of recognition from Alison Dugan (U.S. EPA TSC)

Region 4 AWOP Strategic Planning Meeting

The TSC Optimization Team, in partnership with Region 4 and ASDWA, conducted a strategic planning meeting via web conferencing on November 19-20, 2013.  Participants included representatives from Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Each participant provided an AWOP implementation update and some included examples of area-wide and individual water system impacts. Increases in population served by optimized treatment plants, reductions in disinfection by-products at individual water systems and water savings due to filter backwash optimization were reported. Discussion topics included the development of operator training approaches, relationships between parent and consecutive water systems and their implications on meeting regulations such as the Stage 2 DBPR, and approaches to improving data integrity through AWOP implementation. (Thomas Waters, US EPA TSC)

Region 6 AWOP Training and Strategic Planning Meeting

The TSC Optimization Team, in partnership with Region 6 and ASDWA, conducted a technical training event and meeting on November 13-15, 2013 in Oklahoma City, OK. Participants included representatives from Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The technical training included a workshop that provided participants an approach to identify and correct areas of high water age (e.g., low chlorine residual, high TTHMs) in a distribution system. During the planning meeting, states discussed utilizing Area-Wide Optimization Programs (AWOPs) to support State Capacity Development and Operator Certification programs and using AWOP tools for RTCR compliance. This was the first AWOP training and planning meeting that Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MODNR) and New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) were able to attend. MODNR is in the process of developing an AWOP in their state, while NMED is resurrecting their program after suspending all AWOP activities for the past few years. (Matthew Alexander, US EPA TSC)

Region 3 AWOP Training and Strategic Planning Meeting

The TSC Optimization Team, in partnership with US EPA Region 3 and ASDWA, conducted a meeting and technical training event on October 22 and 23, 2013 in Gettysburg, WV. Participants included state representatives from Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The technical training was focused on implementation of a backwashing procedure known as extended terminal subfluidization wash (ETSW), which is used to reduce backwash induced turbidity spikes. The ETSW demonstration was made possible with key cooperation of staff from the Gettysburg Municipal Authority’s Marsh Creek WTP. Participating state representatives described preliminary implementation strategies for application of ETSW in their respective states. (Rick Lieberman, US EPA TSC)