Region 10/8 AWOP Planning Meeting

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with EPA Region 10, led a program implementation meeting December 5-7, 2017, in Coeur d’Alene, ID.  Representatives from Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Utah and EPA Region 10 attended the meeting and representatives from Montana, Colorado, and EPA Region 8 participated remotely.  The states provided updates on their optimization efforts and highlighted performance data and impacts of their programs on public health protection. The event included a workshop on slow sand filtration optimization during which the group completed a year-long data trending project to pilot water quality optimization goals for slow sand filters with a local northern Idaho water system. Discussion covered a range of topics, including: establishing a regional comprehensive performance evaluation (CPE) team; water treatment optimization strategies for cyanobacteria; optimizing disinfectant residual in wholesale and consecutive systems; and data integrity.  (Tom Waters, US EPA/ TSC)


Region 6 Regional Applied Research Effort Project:

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with EPA Region 6, ORD, and Louisiana Department of Health, visited four water utilities in Louisiana on December 5-7, 2017 to kick off a Regional Applied Research Effort (RARE) Project.  The purpose of the project is to gain a better understanding of the impacts (e.g., on pathogens, DBPs, organic chloramines, nitrification) of maintaining a minimum disinfectant residual greater than a “trace” in chloraminated drinking water distribution systems.  The optimization team was invited to participate in this collaborative effort to introduce the participating water systems to optimization monitoring approaches for distribution systems.  (Matthew Alexander, TSC).

Investigation of Practical Issues Associated with Dichlor/Trichlor Disinfection.

Over the past six months, the TSC optimization team has collaborated with researchers from ORD to investigate monitoring interferences and implications for water systems that use chlorinated isocyanurates (also known as “dichlor/trichlor”) as a disinfectant; there is currently no approved method for measuring this disinfectant residual. Interferences with various EPA-approved free chlorine methods (DPD, indophenol, amperometric electrode) were evaluated, disinfectant residual stability and regulated DBP formation were compared, and a water chemistry model for dichlor/trichlor was updated to include temperature dependence.  Results from this investigation will be used to support OGWDW technical guidance to SDWA primacy agencies that oversee water systems using dichlor/trichlor as a disinfectant. Preliminary results were presented at the AWWA WQTC and TSC expects to jointly author a peer-reviewed journal article with ORD.  (Matthew Alexander and Alison Dugan, U.S. EPA Technical Support Center).

Region 6/7 Area-Wide Optimization Program.

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with EPA Regions 6 and 7, led a program implementation meeting October 24-26, 2017, in New Orleans, LA.  Representatives from Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, and Oklahoma attended.  The states provided updates on their optimization efforts and highlighted performance data and impacts of their programs on public health protection. The event included a technical training workshop about a disinfectant byproduct (DBP) surrogate method that may be useful as a process monitoring tool at water systems challenged by DBP formation. Discussion covered a range of topics, including: approaches to integrate data integrity review into sanitary surveys; optimizing chlorine residual in distribution systems; implementing an AWOP awards program; and integrating optimization concepts into operator certification.  (Matthew Alexander, U.S. EPA Technical Support Center).

2017 AWOP National Meeting Cincinnati, OH | August 8-9, 2017

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) partnered with the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA) to host the seventh biennial Area-Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) National Meeting in Cincinnati, OH on August 8-9, 2017. This meeting also recognized the 20th anniversary of the AWOP.  The meeting is a venue for participating states and EPA regions in the AWOP network to foster networking, share program implementation strategies, successes, challenges and lessons-learned, and to discuss strategies for building, strengthening and maintaining an effective area-wide optimization network. The meeting is also an opportunity for states that are interested in the AWOP to learn about the program and understand the path to implementing an AWOP in their state.

Over one hundred participated in the meeting, including 27 via remote access during the presentations.  Thirty state drinking water programs were represented, in addition to ASDWA, AWWA (Partnership for Safe Water), US EPA (4 Regional Offices, OGWDW and ORD) and PAI (EPA’s small business contractor supporting the optimization program).  Representatives of the City of Rockhill, SC and Mobile, AL also attended and provided case histories of water quality improvements resulting from AWOP implementation. Additional organizations implementing and/or interested in wastewater optimization programs were also represented at the meeting.  These included the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Haldimand County (Ontario), the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), located in Ontario, and the GRCA’s small business contractor supporting its watershed-wide wastewater optimization program.

Throughout the course of the two-day meeting, speakers shared perspectives on AWOP and participating states and EPA regions provided summaries of their optimization programs. Three interactive workshop sessions were conducted. The first workshop focused on developing status components, including case study presentations from Washington and Iowa and a workshop on improving individual filter effluent data integrity.  The next workshop topic addressed targeted performance improvement, with case studies from South Carolina and Alabama that included presentations from water treatment plant operators in those states.  The last workshop covered program maintenance and self-assessment, including a case study from Kentucky. Small group breakout discussions focused on a variety of topics including optimization for harmful algal blooms, data integrity, optimization for corrosion control, operator certification, Distribution System Optimization, AWOP integration, potential roles for Technical Assistance providers, and membrane optimization.

The AWOP National Meeting is a great opportunity for program participants to meet in person to share information, celebrate achievements and discuss lessons-learned on program implementation, tracking performance, and addressing unique drinking water quality challenges faced by states and water systems.  The variety of discussion platforms, including interactive workshops, panel discussions, small-group discussions and pre-planned presentations, allowed for effective networking and information sharing among participants. The National Optimization Leadership Team (NOLT) has reviewed and will incorporate participant feedback and lessons-learned from the meeting to improve program effectiveness and help address ongoing and future optimization challenges.

For additional information about the 2017 AWOP National Meeting, presentation and workshop materials, state and regional reports, and small group feedback, please go to the following:

  • U.S. EPA AWOP SharePoint site (in the AWOP Meeting document library):,

  • ASDWA AWOP Webpage for presentation recordings:

Comprehensive Performance Evaluation (CPE) in Partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP)

The TSC Optimization team, in partnership with PA DEP, conducted a microbial focused CPE at the Aspinwall water treatment plant in Pittsburgh, PA during the week of September 19-22, 2017. The TSC Optimization team assisted in the implementation of the CPE at the request of PA DEP to assess treatment plant performance and overall process control.  PA DEP staff augmented the normal CPE activities with additional water quality samples and special emphasis on the integrity of turbidity data from sampling to reporting.  (Rick Lieberman, Alison Dugan and Matt Alexander, US E.P.A.-TSC).

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MI DEQ)

 One of the objectives of the biennial national AWOP meeting this past summer was to showcase the program for representatives of state agencies not actively implementing an AWOP.  The MI DEQ was represented at the national AWOP meeting and recently indicated plans to implement an AWOP and join the national network of states implementing drinking water optimization programs.  (Rick Lieberman, US E.P.A – TSC).

Alabama’s September AWOP Newsletter

AWOP1_72dpi_2x2Alabama’s AWOP recently released its “Drawing the Graph” newsletter which informs their public water systems about important optimization issues and helps promote AWOP.  This edition highlighted two very important topics for the AWOP community – data integrity and corrosion control.  The newsletter also featured a piece about Mobile, AL chief operator Carl Hanke who shared his experience using AWOP’s tank spreadsheet tool at the AWOP National Meeting this summer.  See all the Alabama AWOP news in the attachment.

Drawing the Graph – September 2017 Issue

Surface Water Treatment Plants Recognized for Meeting AWOP Goals

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 17, 2017) – Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet has recognized 36 surface water treatment plants in Kentucky for meeting the goals of Kentucky’s Area-Wide Optimization Program (AWOP), for 2016.

AWOP is a multi-state initiative administered through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The purpose of AWOP is to encourage drinking water systems to achieve optimization goals that are more stringent than the regulations. Twenty-six states, including Kentucky, participate in AWOP.

AWOP provides tools and approaches for drinking water systems to meet water quality optimization goals, which in turn provides consumers an increased and sustainable level of public health protection. In particular, the program emphasizes optimal turbidity removal through the drinking water treatment process. Turbidity, or cloudiness, is a measurement of particles in water, including soil, algae, bacteria, viruses and other substances. The program also focuses on improving existing facilities rather than implementing costly capital improvements.

Participating systems that meet the high standards of AWOP receive certificates that recognize their accomplishments. “Together, these 36 drinking water treatment plants serve more than 1.7 million Kentuckians,” said Joe Uliasz, supervisor of the Compliance and Technical Assistance Section. “Drinking water treatment plant operators deserve our recognition and appreciation for their daily efforts to exceed the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act.”

Two water treatment plants received an AWOP Champion Award. This award takes into account the high level of optimization achieved, as well as the system’s overall compliance record for the previous three years. Wood Creek Water District was awarded the 2016 Champion Award for a large drinking water treatment plant (designed to produce 3 million or more gallons of water a day). Leitchfield Water Works received the 2016 Champion Award for a small drinking water treatment plant (designed to treat less than 3 million gallons of water a day).

Eleven AWOP drinking water systems received special recognition, with a gold seal on their certificate, for achieving the AWOP goals 100 percent of the time in 2016.  These include Barbourville Water and Electric, Cave Run Regional Water Commission, Green River Valley Water District, Greensburg Water Works, Jackson County Water Association, Jamestown Municipal Water Works, Laurel County Water District No. 2, Liberty Water Works, Logan Todd Regional Water Commission, Madisonville Light and Water, and Rattlesnake Ridge Water District.

The following drinking water systems received certificates for meeting the AWOP criteria:

  • Barbourville Water and Electric
  • Burkesville Water Works
  • Cave Run Regional Water Commission
  • Columbia-Adair County Water Commission
  • Danville City Water Works
  • Franklin Water Works
  • Glasgow Water Company – Plants A and B
  • Green River Valley Water District
  • Greensburg Water Works
  • Hardin County Water District No. 2 – Plants A and B
  • Hartford Municipal Water Works
  • Hodgenville Water Works
  • Jackson County Water Association
  • Jackson Municipal Water Works
  • Jamestown Municipal Water Works
  • Kentucky American Water – Plants B and C
  • Laurel County Water District No. 2
  • Lawrenceburg Water and Sewer Department
  • Lebanon Water Works Company, Incorporated
  • Leitchfield Water Works
  • Liberty Water Works
  • Logan Todd Regional Water Commission
  • Louisville Water Company – Plant A
  • Madisonville Light and Water
  • McCreary County Water District – Plant B
  • Northern Kentucky Water Service – Plant C
  • Ohio County Water District
  • Rattlesnake Ridge Water District
  • Richmond Utilities
  • Stanford Water Works
  • Western Fleming Water District
  • Williamsburg Water Department
  • Wood Creek Water District

For additional information about AWOP visit or contact Jackie Logsdon at or 270-824-7529.

Region 4 AWOP Strategic Planning Meeting and Workshop

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with EPA Region 4 and ASDWA, led a technical training workshop and strategic planning meeting on March 28-30, 2017 in Nashville, TN.  Participants included state drinking water program representatives from Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. States presented their annual AWOP reports, including AWOP activities and resulting water quality impacts. The technical workshop focused on turbidity data integrity from sampling through reporting.  The Metro Water Services, Omohundro Water Treatment Plant in Nashville hosted the workshop.   Discussion topics included a variety of PWSS and AWOP implementation issues, and the decision to host a corrosion control optimization workshop next November in KY.  State action plans were developed to support ongoing implementation of AWOP.  This meeting was the first to be hosted by the TN Department of Environmental Conservation and also the first time that J. Alan Roberson, ASDWA’s new Executive Director, participated in an AWOP event. (Richard Lieberman, US EPA- TSC)