The Optimization State

News and views from the AWOP states.  Please use this for your enlightenment, enrichment and maybe even your entertainment!  AND think about what your state wants to share for the next AWOP News.


Pennsylvania and EPA Work on Distribution System Optimization Study: In a continuing effort by Pennsylvania to develop a distribution system optimization program that is consistent with the most recent protocols and monitoring techniques, Pennsylvania staff participated in an EPA Area Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) Distribution System Optimization field event in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on August 24-27, 2010.  This was the sixth detailed study conducted by the AWOP Distribution System Optimization Team on a Pennsylvania system.

Pennsylvania staff worked with a team of industry leaders in the field of distribution system optimization on a rigorous 4-day comprehensive evaluation of the Greater Johnstown Water Authority system.  The purpose of the field event was to gather comprehensive distribution system data utilizing a calculated flush time distribution system sample collection protocol.  The goal of this sample protocol is to establish a consistent method that will provide an accurate and representative sample of water quality at a specific point in the distribution system.  Both fire hydrants and residential taps were evaluated using this protocol.  Extensive staff interviews were also incorporated as part of this field event.  The interviews are used to evaluate the system’s administrative and management capabilities as it relates to the implementation of distribution system optimization.

In addition, continual monitoring equipment was deployed at two of the system’s storage tanks.  The equipment monitored for turbidity, free chlorine, pH, conductivity and temperature.  Currently, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is the only state agency to utilize this valuable monitoring equipment.

The data collected by the team was used to develop a chlorine map of the distribution system, which is a method of comparatively estimating water age and disinfection by-product (DBP) formation at key locations.  Samples were shipped to a certified lab for definitive TTHM and HAA5 levels to compare with field data.  Ultimately, the data will be used to evaluate the overall chlorine mapping process as an accurate indicator of DBP formation throughout the distribution system.  The information and experience gained during this field event will help assure that Pennsylvania’s distribution system optimization program is developed in a manner consistent with national protocols and standards.  Pennsylvania’s participation on this team of industry leaders is extremely beneficial and will continue via monthly conference calls and semi-annual field events.

Pennsylvania will follow up with the Greater Johnstown Water Authority with the final report as well as to determine if any special studies or operational changes are occurring based on the information gathered during the event.  A special study approach has been established and was presented to the system to ensure that educated process control decisions are made towards optimization without compromising public health.

The contact for this activity is Paul Handke at (717) 783-3900 or


Texas Optimization Program (TOP): The Texas Optimization Program’s Core Team has had a busy summer, having done a mandatory Comprehensive Performance Evaluation (mCPE), an Optimization CPE (oCPE), and two Special Performance Evaluations (SPEs) since the beginning of June.  Additionally, the team, along with Region 6 EPA, held Session 4 of the Disinfection By-Product Performance Based Training (DBP PBT) in July.

The Optimization CPE, also a joint project led by Region 6, was done at the City of Port Arthur’s 24 MGD Water Purification Plant.  The City of Port Arthur was selected by EPA as an Environmental Justice Program focus site and the CPE demonstrated that while not optimized, the water treatment plant is not a cause for concern.

The DBP PBT has been a success with the participating operators, the Core Team, and Region 6.  The original 7 plants are continuing to gather data and have recently begun implementing their individual control strategies.  Session 5 is being held in Austin on October 14 and at that time, the operators from each plant will present data demonstrating whether or not their chosen control strategy has been successful, discuss the findings with the other operators and the trainers, and make a decision on whether or not to continue with that strategy or to try something different.  The final PBT session will be held in Austin in January, 2011.

Texas continues to participate in the Region 6 AWOP.  Two representatives attended the quarterly meeting in Des Moines in September and they will be participating in the multi-state CPE in Oklahoma in November.

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

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