AWOP Planning Meeting Update – September 2010

One of the key components of the area-wide optimization program (AWOP) is the routine planning meetings held between participating state program personnel, EPA, ASDWA, and the contractor, Process Applications, Inc.  These meetings are part of the strategic implementation process used to sustain the AWOP partnerships and activities (e.g., the network).  The meetings accomplish multiple objectives including:  sharing ideas, agreeing on direction and priorities, providing multi-state support and encouragement to improve program performance, sharing technical and management information and approaches and overall sustaining the AWOP human infrastructure.   The AWOP planning and training activities conducted since the last issue of AWOP News in May 2010 are summarized below.

Region 3 Planning Meeting – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – June 15 – 16, 2010

The Region 3 AWOP planning group consisting of participants from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, EPA Region 3, EPA TSC and Process Applications, Inc. met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in June 2010.  The state participants from Pennsylvania participated via teleconference and several participants from EPA TSC participated via video conference.  An update on Microbial Optimization Goals was presented for the states to consider.  Adopting some aspects of the new goals (e.g., one minute turbidity readings from filters) will require action on the part of the state’s water utilities to implement.  Each state reported back on their site selection and start-up considerations for participating in a DBP PBT.  Challenges existed in getting multiple facilities to participate.  Additionally the cost of equipment and testing was presented as a challenge for some states.  Further discussions were held on the potential models for implementing a multi-state DBP PBT.  The group decided that the individual states would go back and reassess their commitment to the training.  The format established for the training was that a “train the trainer approach” would be used with the training to be provided by NOLT and implementation being completed at a minimum of one facility in each participating state.  It is anticipated that a go or no go decision will be made at the next planning meeting.  The Region 3 AWOP group also conducted a multi-state CPE at the Washington D.C. Dalecarlia Water Treatment Plant in August 2010.  The focus of this event was training for participating state personnel.  The next regularly scheduled meeting of this AWOP network group is scheduled for October 20 – 21, 2010 in Hershey, Pennsylvania and will focus on finalizing an implementation approach for the planned DBP PBT demonstration effort and as appropriate setting up the DBP PBT schedule.

Region 4 Planning Meeting – Montgomery, Alabama – August 3- 5, 2010

Region 4 AWOP planning group consisting of Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Region 4, EPA, and PAI met in Montgomery, Alabama in August 2010.  Additional participants from North Carolina and EPA TSC participated via teleconference and web sharing.  Georgia and Florida were not able to attend the meeting due to financial and workload challenges.   A field training event on representative sampling in a distribution system was presented to solicit interest in pursuing development of distribution system optimization skills at future meetings.  It is noted that the heat index during the field efforts was 115 degrees!  The Region 4 states were interested in the distribution system optimization tools and concepts but all were concerned about potential compliance with the Stage 2 rules.  After considerable discussion, the group decided that they would likely be considering a “Targeted Technical Assistance” approach in the near term with the training focused on achieving Stage 2 compliance.  The content of this training might include strategic flushing, discussion of master meter water quality, tank spreadsheet concepts (water age and mixing etc.   All of the states reported a desire in the long term to continue to promote optimization and implementation of AWOP [e.g., try to keep DBP PBT running in the background as well as DS optimization (not aggressively, but keep it on the radar)].  The next Region 4 planning meeting is scheduled to be held in South Carolina December 7 – 9, 2010.  The group will be focusing on developing distribution optimization skills, specifically looking at procedures for conducting investigative sampling to identify potential sites with lower water quality.

Region 6 Planning Meeting – Baton Rouge, Louisiana – April 27 – 29, 2010

The Region 6 AWOP group met in Baton Rouge, LA at the end of April 2010.  Participants included representatives from Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, EPA Region 6, ASDWA, TSC, and PAI.  A full meeting schedule included two workshops – one on distribution system performance goals and monitoring and another on AWOP fundamentals.  The distribution system workshop was used to introduce a beta version of the new Water Quality Assessment Spreadsheet.  The spreadsheet has the ability to track multiple water quality parameters for up to thirty sample sites in a distribution system and assess performance relative to site-specific goals.  Participants used the spreadsheet to review distribution system performance data, identify trends, and assess impacts of special studies.  In addition, feedback was provided on the ‘user friendliness’ of the spreadsheet and suggested enhancements.  The final AWOP fundamentals workshop was conducted on the performance impacts component of the AWOP self assessment.  Strategic planning discussions during the meeting included topics on expanding state AWOP teams, turbidity data integrity, and implementing AWOP in a limited environment.  The next meeting of this AWOP group will be a videoconference scheduled for July 19 – 20, 2010.

Region 6 AWOP Planning Meeting – Remote Meeting via Video Teleconferencing – July 19 – 20, 2010

The Region 6 AWOP group conducted a strategic planning and training meeting in July through the use of videoconferencing facilities.  Use of the videoconferencing allowed the participation of almost thirty network partners from Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, EPA Region 6, ASDWA, EPA TSC, and PAI.  Technical training in the region has recently focused on distribution system optimization, and part of the meeting agenda included a presentation and workshop on considerations for representative sampling.  The training provided the background for the fall meeting where the group will conduct a field sampling event at a water system in the Des Moines, IA area.  During the videoconference, the group presented their AWOP reports that included activities since the last meeting.  Arkansas participants reported on a turbidity calibration project conducted by a summer intern and a successful consecutive system DBP PBT series.  Iowa participants presented preliminary findings on a viability assessment tool that they are developing as part of their AWOP Integration Pilot Project.  Oklahoma participants reported on the outcomes from their DBP PBT projects and planning for a fall multi-state CPE.  Texas participants are conducting a DBP PBT with the assistance of Region 6 staff.  PBT Session 4 was recently conducted and plants identified DBP control strategies specific to their systems.  Louisiana participants discussed planning for a follow-up session of their microbial PBT series.  The latter part of the meeting included discussion on priority topics including use of MIOX for DBP control, event planning through 2011, and membrane system optimization.  The next meeting and field event is planned for September 20 – 23, 2010 in Des Moines.

Region 6 AWOP Planning Meeting – Des Moines, Iowa – September 20 – 23, 2010

The Region 6 AWOP group traveled to Des Moines, Iowa in September to attend a fall planning meeting and 1 day field training event.  Participants included AWOP partners from Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, EPA Region 6, EPA TSC, and PAI.  The field training event was conducted in Urbandale, Iowa, a community located outside of Des Moines and one of the consecutive water systems served by Des Moines Water Works.  The training event included a distribution system overview presented by the water system, identification of critical sampling locations by reviewing system maps, and field sampling for chlorine residual, pH, and temperature using the new hydrant and tap sampling devices.  Each of the three sampling teams included one or two utility operators, and about eight locations were sampled in different areas of Urbandale’s distribution system.  The training exercise generated useful information for the water utility that the Iowa DNR staff will be presenting to the utility staff.  In addition, the participants were able to see how the first day of a distribution system field event unfolds since the training was set up to closely follow this protocol.  All of the participants provided positive feedback on the support provided by the water utility and the value of getting first-hand experience collecting samples using the dedicated sampling devices.  The planning meeting included a presentation and discussion on the turbidity goals updates including recent feedback on the goals survey that was sent to the AWOP states earlier this year.  The latter part of the meeting included discussion on priority topics including anticipated performance challenges related to DBP Stage 2 implementation, considerations for including ‘areas of strength’ in CPE exit meetings, verification of disinfection (CT) in plants and small ground water systems, and planning a successful PBT follow-up session.  The next meeting and training event is planned for March 1 – 3, 2011 in Little Rock.  Two technical training topics are under consideration – conducting a full-scale tracer study to support CT studies and presentations on Arkansas’ recently completed consecutive system PBT series.

Region 10 Planning Meeting – Remote event via Conference Call and iLinc – June 3 – 4, 2010

The Region 10 AWOP group conducted a strategic planning and training meeting in June through the use of Washington’s file sharing website (iLinc) and conference call facilities.  Participants included representatives from Alaska, Oregon, Washington, EPA Region 10, ASDWA, EPA TSC, and PAI.  State AWOP reports included a discussion by Alaska on their successful implementation of status component inspections to collect optimization information on their water systems, an overview of Washington’s second year at awarding optimization awards (14 plants received awards), and feedback on Oregon’s current microbial PBT project.  A presentation and workshop were included in the meeting agenda on the final AWOP fundamentals topic – the performance impacts component of the AWOP self assessment.  The group identified and discussed strategic AWOP topics including tracking a common microbial performance metric within the region, event planning through 2011, and working with troubled water systems.  The fall AWOP meeting scheduled for October 25 – 29, 2010 will be hosted by Washington and located in the Spokane regional office.  Field events will include an optional site visit to a slow sand filter pilot plant in Walla Walla, Washington and a membrane field event in Idaho.

Future activities are scheduled as follows:

October 20 – 21, 2010
Region 3 AWOP Planning Meeting – Harrisburg, PA

October 25 – 29, 2010
Region 10 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – Spokane, Washington

Week of November 1, 2010
Region 6 Multi-State CPE – Oklahoma – No NOLT involvement

December 7 – 9, 2010
Region 4 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – Rock Hill, SC

February 2 – 3, 2011
Region 10 AWOP Planning Meeting and Conference Call using ilinc software

March 1 – 3, 2011
Region 6 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Event – Little Rock, AR

March 22 – 23, 2011
Region 4 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – R4 Atlanta, GA

Week of April 11, 2011
Region 3 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – West Virginia

May 17 – 19, 2011
Region 10 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – Anchorage, Alaska

Week of June 20, 2011
Region 3 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – Maryland

July 19 – 20, 2011
National AWOP Meeting – Cincinnati, OH

Week of October 3, 2011
Region 6 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – Austin, TX

Week of October 17, 2011
Region 3 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – Virginia

Week of October 24, 2011
Region 10 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – Oregon

November 29 – 30, 2011
Region 4 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Training Event – NC

About Anthony R. DeRosa
Proverbial box burner and unofficial tech guy for the drinking water community.

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