Area Wide Optimization Program in Words

Alabama’s Latest “Drawing The Graph” Newsletter

Periodically the Alabama Drinking Water Branch publishes a newsletter highlighting significant activities of their Area Wide Optimization Program (AWOP).  In the September issue of “Drawing the Graph”, the program announces its 15th Annual Surface Water meeting.  This edition also shares information about the importance of data integrity, the Extended Terminal Subfluidization Wash (ETSW) Project at the Town of Berry’s water treatment plant, and an update on the Performance Based Training (PBT) for Drinking Water Distribution Systems in Cullman County.   Please enjoy the complete newsletter as an attachment to this post.


ATTACHMENT: Drawing the Graph – September 2012 Issue

Louisiana Hosts the Region 6 AWOP Meeting in Baton Rouge

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals hosted the Region 6 AWOP meeting in Baton Rouge on July 31 – August 2.  Participants included representatives from Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Oklahoma (via conference call), Texas, EPA Region 6, TSC, ASDWA, and PAI.

Backwash team calculates the ETSW settings (from left, clockwise: John French, Julie Leblanc, Mark Moeller, Austin Lee, Jatin Mistry)

A field training event was conducted on developing and implementing a special study on the Extended Terminal Subfluidization Wash (ETSW) approach for optimizing filter backwash recovery.  The event was hosted by the St. John Parish Lions Water Treatment Plant.  In addition to providing their plant as a 1-day research facility, they also served up some good ole Louisiana jambalaya for everyone to enjoy.  Participants worked in teams focused on different aspects of the study (i.e., backwash procedure, filter bed expansion, performance impact, and data integrity).  This plant would be an excellent candidate to benefit from this optimization approach based on the performance team’s assessment of their post backwash turbidity spikes and length of rewash.  Based on the backwash procedure team’s calculations, the last low wash duration during filter backwash would need to be extended to about 11 minutes from the current 1 minute length.  During the implementation of the ETSW step, the plant operator was surprised to find out that their filter control program limited the length of the final low backwash duration to 3 minutes.  Unfortunately, this finding limited the ability of the team to implement the ETSW approach during the training event; however, the plant staff and LDHH plan to continue pursuing the approach and reporting on the outcome at a future AWOP meeting.

Discussion topics during the planning meeting included identification of approaches for re-engaging in AWOP activities following a program slowdown, field testing issues related to chloramine residual, state input into SDWIS Next Gen to support optimization, a planned Region 6 THM stripping pilot project, and technical assistance approaches for dealing with manganese treatment issues.

Bill Davis is always happy to optimize whatever he gets his hands on … even retirement!

The Region 6 AWOP group also took advantage of this meeting to recognize Bill Davis for his outstanding support and direction he provided to the group over the last 15 years.  Bill will be retiring from EPA at the end of September and will be greatly missed at future AWOP events.  Jatin Mistry has taken over Bill’s AWOP leadership role in the region and has plans to continue the region’s strong support for AWOP into the future.  The next Region 6 AWOP event is a multi-state CPE the week of November 5th in Tyler, Texas.

AWOP Planning Meeting Update – August 2012

AWOP Planning Meeting Update

Region 4 – August 2012 Meeting

By Bob A. Hegg

 Region 4 Planning Meeting – Lexington, Kentucky – August 14 – 15, 2012

Region 4 AWOP planning group consisting of Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Region 4, and EPA/PAI met in Lexington, Kentucky in August 2012.  An additional participant from Florida participated via teleconference.  A training session on “strategically establishing a distribution system flushing site” was conducted working with the Nicholasville water utility.  Field sampling of the distribution system was completed using the calculated flush time approach and hydrants samplers.  Potential low chlorine residual sampling sites were selected from a review of the Nicholasville DS maps.  The groups then went to the field and gathered samples.  Due to the short duration of the sampling the optimum flushing site was not expected to be identified.  The participants then went back to the class room and drafted a special study to implement a flushing location and to set up ongoing monitoring at that location.

One of the field teams

Another hard working field team

High ranking topics discussed at the planning meeting were the status of the Distribution CPE protocol, data integrity, membrane optimization, use of particle counter, SDWIS NEXT GEN and 2013 National Meeting.  The Region 4 states are very interested in the DS CPE and are looking at this as the technical topic for the 2013 meetings.

The next Region 4 planning meeting is scheduled to be held in Alabama and the technical topic to be addressed will be setting up an Extended Terminal Subfluidization Wash (ETSW) at a selected water treaIs Rick happy to be back in Region 4tment plant.  The training and planning meeting will be held on December 11 – 12, 2012.

Is Rick happy to be back in Region 4

Dale is how old?

Region 3 AWOP Planning Meeting – July 2012

This is the Region 3 Team during a Workshop Entitled “Take me out to the ballgame”. Can you find the Region 3 workshop participants?

Region 3 Planning Meeting – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – July 24 – 25, 2012 by
Bob A. Hegg
The Region 3 AWOP planning group consisting of participants from Connecticut Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, EPA Region 3, EPA TSC, ASDWA, Process Applications, Inc. and representatives from the state of North Carolina (Region 4) met in the Region 3 offices in Philadelphia in July 2012. The Region 3 AWOP states are participating in a train the trainer implementation approach for developing a DBP PBT in their respective states. Participants attending the meetings are returning to their home state and implementing a DPB session for their staffs and for selected facilities. The interest in the DBP PBT was again demonstrated by the fact that every state had multiple participants with a total of 20 state personnel in attendance. The number of facilities participating in each state varies from one in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania; six in West Virginia, and seven plants in North Carolina. Most states have or will be presenting Session 3 (Advanced special studies) to their utilities. Several of the states were impressed with the ability of the UV 254 analysis to provide the operator with real time process control opportunities. The reports on these efforts have been effective for enhancing the transfer of approaches and findings between the Region 3 AWOP participants. North Carolina provided data from two of their utility participants for review and evaluation at the meeting. This same kind of review will be implemented by all of the states when they present session 4 to their participating utilities.
Connecticut (a EPA Region 1 State) attended the Region 3 meeting for the first time. There was enthusiastic discussion of how to assimilate CT into the AWOP network and Region 3. Support from the group was welcomed by CT. The Region 3 states were also very interested in the data integrity workshops and extended terminal subfluidization workshops (ETSW_ being conducted in the other Regions. They realize that time is not available to pursue these efforts at the current Region 3 meetings because of the focus on the DBP PBT train-the-trainer efforts.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of this AWOP network group is scheduled for the week of October 8, 2012 in Cacapon State Park in Northern, West Virginia. The meeting will focus on train the trainer efforts for Session 5 of the DBP PBT approach.

Input to SDWIS Next Gen

The optimization team worked with Andy Waite of Region 6 to develop a proposed modification to the existing SDWIS/STATE data entry workflow for turbidity. The proposal was submitted for consideration by those who are collecting and defining business and functional requirements for SDWIS Next Gen.  Area-Wide Optimization Program implementation involves collection and use of water quality data to assess the performance of treatment processes against optimization goals.  This information is invaluable in prioritizing technical assistance efforts, building awareness of water quality goals and the motivation to achieve them, and also to measure the impacts of the program on drinking water quality. (Rick Lieberman, US EPA TSC)

Washington Surface Water Plants Beat or Meet Treatment Goals

The following article on the achievements of Washington’s optimization program will appear in “Water Tap” their drinking water program’s electronic newsletter.

10 years of over achievement
Surface water filtration plants beat or meet treatment goals

Eight Washington surface water filtration plants are bringing home silver and bronze certificates this year for feats in water treatment that are no less heroic than those of Olympic athletes.

Department of Energy 200W earned silver for exceeding or meeting treatment goals for 5 years.

Town of Carson, City of Everett, City of Leavenworth, River Bend Water System, Thunderbird Terrace Water System, Water District 19 on Vashon Island, and City of Woodland all earned bronze for reaching the three-year milestone.

We present bronze, silver, and gold certificates to water systems the first time they meet the turbidity goals for three, five, and ten consecutive years, respectively. Nine other water systems have held their winning positions beyond the milestones. See winners listed below.

“These treatment plant operators have met or exceeded every challenge we threw their way,” said Office of Drinking Water Director Denise Clifford. “They indeed are winners. But their customers also win because the continuous improvements result in better public health protection.”

In 2001, the Office of Drinking Water challenged surface water systems to meet optimized filtered water turbidity goals. The idea of treatment optimization is to achieve the best treatment possible, using the existing treatment facilities. Participating in the program is voluntary. The Treatment Optimization Program’s (TOP) goals are a target and there are no consequences or repercussions for not achieving them.

So, you can imagine how proud we are to report that our 2011 monitoring results show our treatment plants, as a group, continue to improve their performance, affording better public health protection. With 10 years of continuous improvement, these systems definitely have something to brag about.

The performance of rapid rate filters for turbidity (particle) removal is a key element in protecting consumers from microbial contaminants and maximizing public health. The treatment optimization goals include:

  1. Meet 0.10 nephelometric turbidity units (NTU) or less in 95% of the maximum daily combined filter effluent (CFE) measurements taken during the year.
  2. Never exceed 0.30 NTU in any CFE measurement.

In addition, the water systems had to remain free of any drinking water violations during the evaluation period.

To learn more about TOP and treatment optimization visit us online at

This graph illustrates turbidity reduction performance improvement by all rapid rate treatment plants in Washington as a group from 2001 through 2011. Data points are the average of all included treatment plants for the given year.


 Congratulations, TOP Award Recipients!

Gold Award Recipients  10 or more years of continuously optimized performance, 2001-2011

  • Arlington Water Department
  • Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District – South Shore Water System
  • Pasco Water Department
  • Skagit County PUD #1 – Judy Reservoir System

Silver Award Recipients  Five to nine years of continuously optimized performance

  • Lake Chelan Reclamation District (2005-2011)
  • Stevens Pass Water System (2005-2011)
  • Hoquiam Water Department (2005-2011)
  • City of Kelso (2006-2011)
  • Department of Energy 200W (2007-2011)* – Congratulations 1st time winner!

Bronze Award Recipients  Three or four years of continuously optimized performance

  • Lummi Island Scenic Estates Community Club (2008-2011)
  • Ryderwood Improvement & Service Association (2008-2011)
  • Town of Carson (2009-2011) – Congratulations 1st time winner!
  • City of Everett (2009-2011) – Congratulations 1st time winner!
  • City of Leavenworth (2009-2011) – Congratulations 1st time winner!
  • River Bend Water System (2009-2011) – Congratulations 1st time winner!
  • Thunderbird Terrace Water System (2009-2011) – Congratulations 1st time winner!
  • Water District 19 (2009-2011) – Congratulations 1st time winner!
  • City of Woodland (2009-2011) – Congratulations 1st time winner!