EPA Region 6 AWOP Planning Meeting and Training Event: May 8 – 10, 2012 Dallas, Texas

A Region 6 AWOP planning meeting and field training event was hosted in May by the Region at their Dallas office. Participants included AWOP partners from Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas, EPA Region 6, TSC, and PAI. The 1-day training event included an overview of turbidity data integrity activities that have occurred in the AWOP network since the fall field event in Austin. Presenters were also invited to the session to discuss recent instrumentation developments with turbidity measurement and integration with SCADA systems. Representatives from Hach Company presented information on low level turbidity measurement including features of their laser turbidimeter and a calibration demonstration. A representative from Schneider Electric presented information on SCADA system design and applications for water treatment. The training event also provided opportunities to discuss common turbidity data integrity issues that the network has identified in plants and possible solutions. One example is the capping of data from IFE and CFE turbidimeters. Options for modifying existing analog signal outputs as well as upgrading to digital signal outputs were discussed by the speakers.

The planning meeting included discussion on priority topics such as developing a DBP Status Component based on Stage 2 data, approaches for internal development of AWOP teams, and limits for algae (cyanobacteria) in filtered water. The next meeting and training event is planned for July 31 – August 2, 2012 in Baton Rouge. The training event will include a field demonstration of the Extended Terminal Subfluidization Wash (ETSW) method that can be used to potentially lower filter backwash recovery turbidity and reduce the volume of water required for filter-to-waste.

Mike Sadar with Hach Company demonstrates the features of a laser turbidimeter and associated bubble trap to the group.

Julie LeBlanc with Louisiana AWOP displays the cookie baking skills of Jose Rodriquez with EPA Region 6. Jose was very popular at the meeting!

Region 10 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Event: Portland, Oregon – October 25 – 27, 2011

A Region 10 planning meeting and field training event was hosted by the Oregon Health Authority AWOP team in October 2011 in Portland. Participants included AWOP partners from Alaska (by conference call), Oregon, Utah, Washington, EPA Region 10, TSC, ASDWA (by conference call) and PAI. The meeting included a field event at the North Clackamas County Water Commission, a unique water utility in the Portland area that utilizes both slow sand filtration and membrane technology to meet their water production needs. The membrane treatment and optimization theme of the meeting was kicked off with a presentation by Sam Perry with WA DOH. Sam discussed a range of topics from membrane system approval in Washington to design, operation, and potential optimization considerations for membrane systems. During the one day field event the group toured both the slow sand and the membrane plants and collected detailed information on membrane design, operation, maintenance, and administration. EPA Region 10 provided additional support for the field event by connecting their new laser turbidimeter to one of the membrane cells and monitoring performance for a 2-day period. The overview presentation and field event provided additional information that the Region 10 AWOP group is using to develop optimization strategies for non-conventional treatment technologies.

The planning meeting included updates by the states, region, and NOLT and discussion on priority topics such as next steps for membrane optimization development, an update on the slow sand filtration performance goals, and AWOPs role in compliance assistance. The next meeting and training event for the group will be hosted by Washington DOH in Tumwater on March 20 – 22, 1012. A workshop is planned in conjunction with a turbidimeter vendor on instrument calibration, maintenance, operation, and data integrity issues.

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Submerged membrane cell showing air wash lines and top of membrane modules

Region 6 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Event: Austin, Texas – October 4 – 6, 2011

The fall Region 6 AWOP meeting and field training event was held in Austin, Texas in early October. Participants included AWOP partners from Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma (by conference call), Texas, EPA Region 6, TSC, and PAI. The field training event was conducted in Lakeway, Texas, a community located along Lake Travis just outside of Austin. The 1-day training event focused on the topic of turbidity data integrity. As part of the training event, the plant staff conducted a tour of their 7 MGD conventional treatment plant that primarily focused on their turbidity monitoring locations and equipment. Following the tour, three work groups were formed to focus on selected data integrity topics including: 1) turbidimeter maintenance and calibration, 2) impact of turbidimeter configuration on output, 3) tracing turbidity data from source to reporting, 4) reporting turbidity data from online turbidimeters, 5) retrieval of turbidity data from storage, and 6) turbidity data invalidation procedures. The participants were very enthusiastic about their field event experience, and states planned to use the workshop to support future training events for their internal staff and operators.  They also suggested that a similar field event on disinfection (CT) data integrity would be useful for the network.

The planning meeting included a presentation and workshop on the updated AWOP self-assessment and updates on state, region, and NOLT activities. The latter part of the meeting included discussion on priority topics such as maintaining state AWOPs, enhancing the remote meeting experience, and next steps for continuing to improve data integrity. The next meeting and training workshop is planned for January 31 – February 1, 2012 and will be a remote meeting using conference call and Internet file and video sharing software. The workshop will focus on identifying disinfection byproduct control strategies and be based on the Texas DBP PBT project.

Region 6 AWOP team adjusts turbidimeter data aquisition frequency [pictured from left: Noble Johnson (TX), Bob Arthur (AR), Mark Moeller (IA), Austin Lee (AR)]

AWOP Planning Meeting Update – Region 3 April 2011

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.

Region 3 Planning Meeting – Falling Waters, West Virginia – April 12 – 14, 2011

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 Falling Waters, West Virginia in April 2011. In addition representatives from North Carolina attended the meeting.  A major objective of this meeting was to kick off a train the trainer series on the DBP PBT protocol.  The focus of the first session was to introduce and develop DBP PBT facilitator skills.  Each of the state participants are expected to take the training materials back to their respective state programs and, if necessary, train other state facilitators to support actual DBP PBT events for selected water utilities in their states.  The training materials used for this initial session represent the current enhanced materials from the South Carolina and Kentucky DBP PBT pilot development programs.  The train the trainer approach being used in Region 3 is designed to encourage immediate implementation of the newly acquired skills transferred to the state program attendees.  Some of the challenges is the train the trainer approach were discussed and plans made to implement training efforts at the individual states.  Pennsylvania, West Virginia and North Carolina are planning implementation with multiple facilities.  Maryland and Virginia are planning on starting with an individual system.  The next session will cover presentation of Session 1 of the DBP PBT protocol and will be held on June 21 – 22, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.

AWOP Planning Meeting Update – Region 4 March 2011

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.

Region 4 Planning Meeting – Decatur, Georgia – March 22 – 23, 2011

Region 4 AWOP planning group consisting of Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Region 4, and EPA/PAI/ASDWA met in Decatur, Georgia in March 2011.  Additional participants from North Carolina and EPA TSC attended the meeting via teleconference.  Georgia was not able to attend the meeting due to financial and workload challenges.  A presentation and workshop was held on the first day to introduce and solicit feedback on the revised State AWOP Self Assessment.  Feedback on the content of the new self assessment was provided by the workshop participants.  In general the states felt that the self assessment had been enhanced.  A joint presentation on the approach and outcome of the second DBP PBT pilot program in KY was presented by TSC and KY.  The presentations established the much revised approach to the DBP PBT materials and demonstrated improved performance at multiple KY utilities.  KY is pursuing a DBP PBT on their own with an additional six facilities following the successful completion of the pilot.  The state presented their annual AWOP reports which continued to demonstrate the positive impacts on plant performance, cost savings, training benefits and increased professionalism provided by AWOP participation and implementation.  A broad range of topics was discussed during the planning meeting demonstrating the maturity of the Region 4 AWOP.  All of the states are pursing the construction of hydrant samplers and have plans in various stages of development to transfer representative distribution sampling to their constituents.  The next meeting will be held in Tallahassee, FL on November 29 – 30, 2011.  The technical topic to be discussed will be the tank mixing spreadsheet supplemented by case histories from EPA and/or various utility examples provide by the participating states.

AWOP Planning Meeting Update – Region 6 March 2011

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. Region 6 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Event:  Little Rock, Arkansas – March 1 – 3, 2011 The spring Region 6 AWOP meeting and field training event was held in Little Rock, Arkansas in early March.  Participants included AWOP partners from Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma (by conference call), Texas, EPA Region 6, TSC, and PAI.  The field training event was conducted in Malvern, Arkansas, a community located about 40 miles southwest of Little Rock.  The training event, coordinated and facilitated by AR staff, included an in-plant special study on determining the T10/T ratio for a clearwell used for disinfection credit.  The group was divided into four teams, and each team was responsible for measuring either a fluoride or sodium tracer over time and determining the resulting T10/T ratio.  The training exercise proved to be a valuable experience on the details required to set up a tracer study and provided practical information that the states could use in assessing disinfection capability in their plants.  The planning meeting included a presentation and workshop on the updated AWOP self-assessment.  The feedback provided by the participants focused primarily on the ability of the states to assess performance for multiple water quality goals and different numbers and types of water systems as well as how the revised self-assessment results would be interpreted by others.  The latter part of the meeting included discussion on priority topics including ‘optimizing’ the meeting time to include more time for discussion topics, addressing data integrity issues identified during plant inspections and CPEs, and approaches for conducting field staff training.  The next meeting and training event is planned for October 4 – 6, 2011 in Austin.  The field event will focus on turbidity data integrity and methods of reviewing on-site plant performance data (e.g., operational logs, SCADA downloads).

Region 6 AWOP Team 3 – Cindy Haynie (TX), Mac Faulkner (AR), Bill Davis (EPA R6), Don Fiegel (AR)

AWOP Planning Meeting Update – Region 10 February 2011

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.

Region 10 Planning Meeting – Remote event via Conference Call and iLinc Web Hosting:  February 2 – 3, 2011

The Region 10 AWOP group conducted a 2-day remote planning meeting in February using conference call and web hosting facilities.  Participants included representatives from Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Utah, EPA Region 10, ASDWA, TSC, and PAI.  State AWOP reports included an update by Alaska on common findings from their status component inspections and implications with other drinking water program activities, a discussion by Washington on the significant changeover in their agency management positions as well as planning for their third PBT series, feedback on Oregon’s efforts to develop their first state-wide turbidity performance graph, and discussion from Utah on strategies to gain internal support for their AWOP efforts including recognition by EPA Region 8.  An update was provided during the meeting from the Slow Sand Filtration Work Group on the identification of appropriate performance goals for this biological filtration process.  Priority topics discussed during the meeting included identifying internal support strategies for program managers, further defining the consensus approach for turbidity performance trending in the region, and developing membrane filtration CPE criteria.  A late spring AWOP meeting is scheduled for May 17 – 19, 2011 and will be hosted by Alaska in their Anchorage office.  A field event is planned on demonstration of Alaska’s Status Component Inspection protocol and application of this tool to other Region 10 AWOP activities.

AWOP Planning Meeting Update – Region 4 December 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.

Region 4 Planning Meeting – Rock Hill, South Carolina – December 9 – 11, 2010

Region 4 AWOP planning group consisting of Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Region 4, and EPA/PAI met in Rock Hill, South Carolina in December 2010.  Additional participants from Alabama and EPA TSC participated via teleconference.  Georgia and Florida were not able to attend the meeting and due to financial and workload challenges.   A field training event was conducted in conjunction with the Rock Hill Utilities staff.  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 sampling devices.  Each of the three sampling teams included one plant operator and one person from the distribution system staff.  Approximately fifteen locations were sampled in different areas of Rock Hill’s distribution system.  The training exercise generated useful information for the water utility who participated in the workshop associated with the field training event and discussions of the findings.  The training event also showcased the first day of the National Leadership Team’s distribution system field development events.  It was explained that the training activities were a component of the distribution optimization system protocol that is currently being developed.    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.  A major discussion at the planning meeting was methods to initiate distribution system optimization by the state programs.  All of the states are planning on demonstrating the representative sampling procedure in some venue or another.  The next Region 4 planning meeting is scheduled to be held in Decatur, Georgia on March 22 – 23, 2011.

AWOP Planning Meeting Update – Region 10 October 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.

Region 10 AWOP Planning Meeting and Field Events:  Spokane, Washington – October 25 – 28, 2010

A Region 10 planning meeting and field training event was hosted by the Washington DOH treatment optimization team in October 2010 in Spokane, Washington.  Participants included AWOP partners from Alaska (by conference call), Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Washington, EPA Region 10, TSC, ASDWA (by conference call) and PAI.  The meeting included two field events – one conducted in Walla Walla, Washington at a slow sand filtration pilot project and a second conducted near Sandpoint, Idaho at a membrane treatment plant.  The first field event was included in the meeting agenda on the front-end travel day since Walla Walla was located on the travel route for several of the meeting participants.  The city and their engineering consultant provided a presentation and tour of their slow sand filter pilot plant that they are evaluating to meet the LT2 surface water treatment requirements.  The field event provided an opportunity to learn about design considerations for slow sand filter pilots, review performance data, and build the knowledge basis on optimization considerations for this process.  The second field event was conducted at a small water system that had experienced failed membrane modules.  The system operators and accountant provided a tour of the system and described the treatment and financial issues they have faced with their system.  This field event provided an opportunity for the Region 10 AWOP group to contrast a troubled membrane system with well-functioning systems that have been visited during past field events.  Planning meeting topics included developing a consensus approach for developing a region-wide turbidity performance graph and identifying the next steps in developing slow sand filtration optimization criteria.  The next meeting for the group will be a conference call supported by web hosting to be conducted on February 2 – 3, 2011.

AWOP Planning Meeting Update – Region 3 October 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.

Region 3 Planning Meeting – Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – October 20-21, 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 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in October 2010.  Several additional participants from EPA TSC participated via phone. Each state reported back in detail on the various components of the site selection guidelines that had been provided to them by the NOLT to select candidates for a DBP PBT..  It was formally established that each of the Region 3 states would participate in a “train the trainer approach”.  Training will be provided by NOLT and implementation will be pursued by each state at a minimum of one facility in each participating state.  Every state brought information for at least two facilities and if they prove to be viable candidates it is anticipated that a minimum of two utilities per state will participate.  The states are planning on involving multiple staff in the training and implementation effort.   The cost of equipment and testing to support the project remained a challenge.  It was also established that North Carolina, a Region 4 AWOP state, may be interested in joining the Region 3 DBP PBT effort.   A call is scheduled for January 2011 to finalize participants and the site selection activities.  Additional topics addressed during the meeting were approaches for addressing potential DBP compliance challenges associated with the new regulations and methods of using set aside funds to support AWOP activities.  Several states mentioned that Connecticut was expressing preliminary interest in AWOP and they were interested in inviting them to be part of the Region 3 AWOP efforts.     The next regularly scheduled meeting of this AWOP network group is scheduled for the week of April 11, 2011 at a West Virginia utility.  The meeting will focus on DBP PBT facilitator training for the participating state personnel.