AWOP Projects Featured in EPA Webinar and ASDWA Conference

Many of the important lessons learned from implementing the Area Wide Optimization Program can impact the effectiveness of the entire drinking water effort.  A recent EPA webinar contained some good examples.  On October 10, EPA hosted a webinar for states and EPA Regions called “Review of Inactivation by Disinfection”.  A number of state presenters shared projects related to disinfection that originated in their state’s optimization program.

Surface water and GWUDI systems must provide treatment of Giardia, Cryptosporidium and virus to meet their rule requirements.  States need to assure that the water systems are meeting the appropriate removal/inactivation, but work in the AWOP states has identified challenges that all states need to consider.  Vanessa Wike of Alaska described their “status component inspection” project.  Alaska conducted focused inspections of all their surface water systems to confirm the treatment that is operating at each facility and document the inactivation or removal credit for that treatment.  Alaska’s extensive CPE work had pointed out that completely understanding the treatment process at each facility was critical for accurately documenting compliance.  Jennifer Bunton of Iowa shared the work that they have done to improve the calculation of CT by water systems.  Here again, CPE’s had identified common problems.  The calculation of CT is a problem at water systems because the original basis for CT determination was unknown, treatment plants and processes had changed, or operators do not understand how to do the calculations correctly.  Iowa is using a combination of site visits and training to address these issues.   Craig Corder of Arkansas presented information on similar challenges with CT.  Taking it a step further, Arkansas uses data audits, meter calibration checks, and other data integrity related activities to make sure the data used to make decisions are accurate.  For AWOP “drawing the graph” is a critical element.  Without good data, how do we know the graph represents the true condition of the water system?

We are glad that EPA recognized the importance of this work and asked states to share in the webinar presentation.  You can view the webinar slides on ASDWA’s Regulatory web page.

AWOP efforts were also featured at the ASDWA Annual Conference held in October in Little Rock, AR.  Three presentations highlighted AWOP activities around the country.  Craig Corder gave an expanded description of their data integrity work.  JD Douglas of West Virginia shared how his state has made the Performance Based Training of AWOP a part of their drinking water operator certification and training program.  Finally, Noble Johnson of Texas reported on the ground water optimization pilot and its impact on the Texas water systems that participated.  The PowerPoint slides from all three of these presentations are available on the ASDWA 2012 Annual Conference web page.

Training and Strategic Planning Meeting in EPA Region 10

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with US EPA Region 10 and ASDWA, facilitated a meeting and technical training event in Seattle, WA on October 23 – 25, 2012.  Participants included representatives from Alaska, Oregon, Utah and Washington.  The technical training included a workshop on turbidity data integrity and was conducted on-site in cooperation with water treatment plant staff from the City of Anacortes, WA.  The participants gained hands-on experience in tracing turbidity data from source to reporting and gained a better understanding of the parameters impacting turbidity data quality. (USEPA TSC, Rick Lieberman)