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)

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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)

Distribution System Comprehensive Performance Evaluation

During the week of September 23rd members of the Optimization Team demonstrated the Distribution System Comprehensive Performance Evaluation (DS CPE) approach in Easley, SC to the Region 4 Area-Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) program participants.

Elevated storage tank in Easley, SC

Elevated storage tank in Easley, SC

This is the first of several planned training CPEs intended to transfer DS CPE skills to the State AWOP participants. The training will ultimately enable these personnel to conduct DS CPEs and provide other technical assistance to water systems challenged with meeting the Stage 2 DBPR requirements or consistently maintaining a disinfectant residual in their system. (Alison Dugan & Matthew Alexander, US EPA TSC)

Rick Hiers (SC DHEC) and Lindsey Bounds (SC DHEC) collecting samples for the Distribution System Influent Hold Study

Rick Hiers (SC DHEC) and Lindsey Bounds (SC DHEC) collecting samples for the Distribution System Influent Hold Study

Continuous chlorine monitor used for the Storage Tank Assessment Special Study

Continuous chlorine monitor used for the Storage Tank Assessment Special Study

Distribution System Performance Based Training in Alabama

On September 4, the US EPA Optimization Team, in partnership with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), conducted Session 9 of a Performance Based Training (PBT) pilot project focused on distribution system optimization. The participating operators developed and presented case studies about some of their accomplishments during this PBT project. Examples included water quality enhancements through operational changes in the distribution system (i.e., tanks, optimizing automatic flushing) and reduced staff burden associated with maintaining water quality in the distribution system (i.e., fewer customer complaint, less time spent manually flushing the system). Participants also discussed possible approaches for documenting impacts of the project: stabilizing distribution system chlorine residual levels (either at a single site, or system wide); reducing disinfection by-products system-wide; and improving water quality in the system. The afternoon workshop focused on assessing the impact of rerouting water in the system to improve water quality. The final session is planned for December. (Matthew Alexander & Alison Dugan US EPA TSC).

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)

Optimization Program – Microbial Performance Based Training (PBT)

The TSC optimization team, in collaboration with the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health, conducted the sixth and final session of microbial PBT on April 30, 2013 at the Summersville, WV National Guard Conference Center. WV Drinking water treatment plant operators reported on their efforts to improve filtered water quality using the techniques learned and applied throughout the training project. Participant feedback credited the training for the documented improvements in treated water quality and also for the increased levels of skill and confidence exhibited by the operators. Commitment was unanimous for a follow-up session to be held in 9 – 12 months. The purpose of this session is to evaluate the progress as operators continue to apply the skills and techniques to optimize process control at each of their treatment plants. (Ouro Koumai and Rick Lieberman US EPA, TSC)
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Training and Strategic Planning Meeting in US EPA Region 6

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with US EPA Region 6 and ASDWA, facilitated a meeting and technical training workshop on February 5 and 6, 2013. Participants included representatives from Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. Examples of state activities include how Arkansas has applied optimization concepts to identify data integrity issues and provide TCR compliance assistance to their systems. Additionally, Iowa has developed an optimization-style prioritization approach to identify small systems in need of compliance and technical assistance. The technical training workshop topic focused on manganese treatment, which provided information on monitoring and control strategies for surface water plants. This topic was identified because drought conditions over the summer of 2012 resulted in manganese treatment challenges throughout the region. (Matthew Alexander)

Distribution System Performance Based Training in Alabama

002On February 26, 2013, the Optimization Team, in partnership with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), conducted Session 7 of a Performance Based Training (PBT) project focused on distribution system optimization. Operators from six water systems (the parent system and five consecutive systems) are participating in this project. All of the operators continue to develop their optimization skills, as was evident during their reports on their efforts to identify and improve areas of poor water quality in their systems. During Session 7 the participants were introduced to storage tank assessment techniques and potential strategies that can be implemented to address water quality problems due to tanks. (Matthew Alexander & Alison Dugan)

Training and Strategic Planning Meeting in US EPA Region 10

The TSC Optimization Team, in partnership with US EPA Region 10 and ASDWA, facilitated a meeting and technical training event in and around Portland, OR February 20-22, 2013. Participants included representatives from Alaska, Oregon, Utah and Washington. The technical training included a workshop on membrane treatment optimization and was conducted on site in cooperation with the City of Warrenton, OR and the assistance of their water treatment plant staff. The membrane workshop provided experience with assessing plant performance against the existing draft optimization goals. (Rick Lieberman)