Region 3 AWOP Implementation Meeting 

The TSC optimization team, in partnership with the EPA Region 3 AWOP team, led a program implementation meeting on May 8-9, 2018, in Baltimore, MD. Meeting participants included state drinking water staff from Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, as well as EPA staff from Region 1, Region 5 and OGWDW’s Drinking Water Protection Division. State participants reported on their recent AWOP activities, including program impacts and case studies. Meeting topics included: incorporation of data-integrity and optimization-awareness activities into their respective sanitary survey efforts; disinfection byproduct compliance challenges and strategies; approaches for calculating CT (disinfection) at water plants; state approaches to addressing harmful algal blooms, and strategies to characterize and optimize corrosion control treatment at water systems. After the meeting, several participants also attended the Legionella 2018 Conference, also held in Baltimore that week. (Alison Dugan, Matthew Alexander; US EPA/ TSC)

2011 National AWOP Meeting

The Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA) and the Technical Support Center in EPA’s Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water are sponsoring the fourth National Area-Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) Meeting on July 19 & 20, 2011.  The meeting will again be held in Cincinnati, OH at the Hilton Netherland Plaza.  This conference follows other very successful National AWOP Meetings that began in 2005.

The meeting is designed to provide existing AWOP States and Regions with an opportunity to meet and network with other AWOP participants that are not in their region and also provide a forum for discussing national AWOP priorities and technical topics.  This year’s theme is “Implementing Strategic Knowledge”.  The conference will allow attendees to hear how others are implementing strategic knowledge in their programs and take back new strategic knowledge to their own states or regions.

About 60 participants are expected for this year’s meeting.  This includes representatives from existing AWOP states, regions, TSC and EPA Headquarters.  Other states with an interest in AWOP are also expected to attend to become more familiar with AWOP tools and practices.   The conference will also include our neighbors north of the border as Canadian representatives come to learn how AWOP operates and whether it could be used in their country.  We will also have on the agenda a water system operator that can relate first-hand experience of the benefits of AWOP.

The following topics are being included for presentation and discussion during the meeting:

  • Direction for the AWOP Program
  • State and Regional AWOP Reports
  • ASDWA Web Page and Communications Tools
  • AWOP Impacts
  • Data Integrity
  • Distribution System Optimization
  • AWOP Integration
  • DBP Implementation

These topics will be addressed through a mixture of presentations, workshops, and panel discussions.  The meeting is not just presentations and workshops.  A popular feature of past meetings is returning – the “Resource Table”.  States, regions, and TSC will bring tools they have developed or other special initiatives they have developed to share with other attendees during the breaks and before and after the formal sessions.  In this way more strategic knowledge is passed from one member of the AWOP community to another.

As was the case for the previous AWOP National Meetings, ASDWA has been able to provide travel support to many state attendees.  This has assured that all the active AWOP states can participate and bring back something from the meeting to their state.  We are looking forward to a great National Meeting this year and already thinking about 2013.

AWOP Calendar: Summer 2011 through Fall 2012

The calendar of scheduled AWOP activities includes National Optimization Leadership Team meetings and other national AWOP events, regional planning meetings and multi-state events, and individual state AWOP events.

AWOP Calendar 6-17-11

AWOP News Survey Responses


 1. Overall very positive feedback   

 A. People read most of the AWOP News (55%). 

B.  AWOP News helps people feel connected to AWOP (44% Strongly Agree/38% Agree)

C.  The majority of people keep AWOP News as a resource (67%)

 2. What respondents are interested in: 9 respondents, when asked what they liked about AWOP News,   commented on an interest of actions in other State/Regions

 3. What respondents don’t like:  Most, 5 respondents had no negative comments on AWOP News. 

 4. Areas for improvement:

3 respondents had comments on more information regarding operator/utilities

2 respondents commented on a desire for more data comparison/progress

5. Information about respondents:

Most were state representatives participating in AWOP (57%) followed by state representative not participating in AWOP (22%)

 Survey Questions and Responses

 Question 1.  Which of the following statements is most accurate about your experience with the AWOP Newsletter?

Read all of it.   11.8% 4
Read most of it.   55.9% 19
Read some of it.   23.5% 8
Did not ready any of it.   8.8% 3

 Question 2.  Please indicate how much you agree or disagree with each statement.



Strongly Agree




Strongly Disagree



The newsletter helps me feel connected to the AWOP.

44.1% (15)

38.2% (13)

11.8% (4)

2.9% (1)

0.0% (0)

2.9% (1)


The newsletter is useful and valuable to me.

29.4% (10)

55.9% (19)

11.8% (4)

0.0% (0)

0.0% (0)

2.9% (1)


The newsletter is easy to read.

26.5% (9)

52.9% (18)

17.6% (6)

0.0% (0)

0.0% (0)

2.9% (1)


Regularly receiving the AWOP newsletter is important to me.

35.3% (12)

44.1% (15)

17.6% (6)

0.0% (0)

0.0% (0)

2.9% (1)


The newsletter effectively provides information relevant to my needs in AWOP

29.4% (10)

41.2% (14)

23.5% (8)

0.0% (0)

0.0% (0)

5.9% (2)


Overall, I am satisfied with the AWOP newsletter.

24.2% (8)

66.7% (22)

6.1% (2)

0.0% (0)

0.0% (0)

3.0% (1)



 Question 3.  Do you keep the newsletter as a resource?







 Question 4. Tell us what you like about the AWOP Newsletter.

 Interest in other States/Regions

-Keeping abreast of what is happening in the other Regions

-I like catching up on all the state programs.

-I’m interested in new ideas on projects happening in other states.

-State implementation is worthwhile case history.

-Various types of technical assistance being provided by states

-What other states/regions are doing

-Activities in other States/EPA Regions

-Love the technical updates and also seeing what the other states are doing.

-Reading about activities of each of the regional AWOP planning meetings.

-Articles giving state updates and technical articles

 Other Comments

-It is organized well for reading and provided up-to-date information.

-Case studies

-Current updates in the AWOP field and who the members are

-‘Did not know there was an AWOP newsletter.

-I like the new web-based approach!

-I like to hear about how AWOP is changing and AWOP success stories.

-Helps keep us focused on providing needed technical services.

-Very informative

-The Optimization State



-Lets me sit back a bit to see a larger picture.

-It is a simple newsletter without all the hype!

 Question 5.  Tell us what you do not like about the AWOP Newsletter.


-Don’t have anything I dislike.


-Nothing — it’s all good.

-Nothing I can think of


Length of Articles/Size of Newsletter

-Some of the articles are lengthy and I don’t feel like I always have the time to read them in depth.

-Overall pretty good – some articles are too lengthy

-Too large


-Seems to focus on EPA and state efforts without inclusion of other players; TA providers, trainers, equipment suppliers.

-I wish each article is kept together. (ie like reading an artilce on page 1 and then having to turn to page 5 to read the rest of the article)

-Did not know there was an AWOP newsletter. 

Question 6.  What should be done to improve the AWOP Newsletter?

Focus on operators

-Make more of a universal resource for operators

-I would like it to reveal more of what operators have learned through the AWOP processes

-more input from the utilities who participate

Comparison data/progress

-Incorporate some kind of progress meter (or status meter) on an annual basis, showing how many states, systems, people, etc. are positively affected by a particular aspect of AWOP (i.e., how many states have done DBP PBT, how many people

-If we can get some data that is comparable to see how the regions/states stack up to each other, that would be great.


-Shorter format project briefs – with contact info if I need more detail. I don’t get through all of the articles – I know they are good, but I don’t always have time to read the entire article.

-Incorporate more tips, tricks, and practical application elements

-Keeping teaching up skills to use!

-It would be helpful if the AWOP newsletter would include sources of funding for AWOP, sources for training for participants, and results of AWOP in each state.

-I’d say more stories, but it’s probably like pulling teeth to get them, so I won’t.

-More concentrated

-Did not know there was an AWOP newsletter

Question 7.  Please check the category that most accurately describes you:




US EPA Regional Representative Participating in AWOP  



US EPA Regional Representative not Participating in AWOP  



State Representative Participating in AWOP  



State Representative not Participating in AWOP  



Drinking Water System Operator  






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.


Greenfield Success Story

In fall of 2007, the Iowa DNR field staff offered training in the use of the Optimization Assessment Software (OAS) to all of the state’s 32 surface water systems.  In response to the training, several water system operators began using OAS and sending it in to the central office for review each month.  One of these was Water Plant Foreman Garry Miller of the Greenfield Municipal Utilities (GMU) water plant.  The plant utilizes water from six wells, Greenfield Lake, Nodaway Lake, and the Middle Nodaway River to produce water for a population of approximately 2,300 people.  Potassium permanganate is added at the Greenfield Lake inlet, and then water flows by gravity to the treatment plant, where coagulant is added.  Flocculation/sedimentation is accomplished through a Trident Microfloc clarifier/filtration system followed by disinfection and fluoridation.  Because of the lack of sedimentation in this process, the plant is classified as direct filtration.

Miller began using the OAS software in November of 2007, and he noted with his first electronic submittal that the plant had filter to waste, but that filters were put back in service once turbidity dropped below 0.40 NTU.  He thought he could lower that to 0.20 NTU or lower.  He also mentioned that he was in the process of finding a computer programmer to repair a problem in the software that he thought would reduce the combined filter effluent (CFE) to less than 0.1 NTU 95 percent of the time.  On November 29, 2007, the computer programmer arrived and found that at 12:01 a.m. each morning, the computer program was taking that combined filter effluent turbidity measurement and adding it to the 12:00 a.m. measurement and recording it in the spreadsheets as the reading for 12:01 a.m., effectively doubling the reading.  Many times, this 12:01 a.m. reading was the highest reading of the day.  The OAS spreadsheet showed an immediate effect following the fix.  The 95th percentile for CFE did not change from 0.19 NTU, but GMU went from meeting the CFE optimization goal of 0.10 NTU 17.5 percent of the time, to meeting it 49.5 percent of the time after the computer program fix.  It also provided a more accurate picture of how things were going at the plant.

Program fix to more accurately portray CFE turbidity

After taking a look at the data in the OAS spreadsheets in November and December of 2007, Jennifer Bunton of IDNR contacted Miller about days with very high turbidities and found that Garry was reporting turbidity data even on days when filter maintenance was being performed, because he hadn’t realized these numbers were not considered valid for compliance.  They also discussed the fact that most of the maximum daily values were occurring during backwash and filter to waste.  Miller thought about this and decided that maybe there was a problem in the control panel, because the relays were supposed to block turbidity data from reaching the plant computer and spreadsheets during backwash and filter to waste.  He thought that perhaps the input signal to the relay was coming from the wrong terminal in the plant PLC, so he talked with his manager about it, and they agreed this could be a problem.  In November of 2008, Miller and the Utilities Superintendent, Duane Armstead, were able to negotiate a deal with the control panel technician and he came out to fix the problem.  Results were evident immediately, as the OAS data showed. 

Control panel fixed to eliminate recording during backwashes and filter to waste periods

In the year since the backwash and filter to waste data were blocked from recording, GMU has gone from meeting the individual filter goal of 0.10 NTU zero percent of the time to meeting the goal 68.8 percent of the time—a drastic improvement.  The GMU plant is also now meeting the CFE goal 97.3 percent of the time.  There have not been a lot of operational changes at the plant, and Miller has not been able to participate in the state’s Performance Based Training program because of demands on his time, but GMU now has more representative data to use for optimization purposes.  This shows a very different picture from what IDNR saw during its initial data collection efforts in 2006, and it also shows the benefit of just providing optimization information to systems in a format that is easy to understand.  Miller agrees, saying, “I guess I never paid too much attention to all this before I started using the OAS spreadsheets…Thanks for planting the seed as far as keeping a closer eye on how your plant is truly performing.”

Miller says he is a “behind the scenes kind of guy,” but Bunton disagrees.  “It’s only because Garry took the initiative to start thinking about why his data looked the way it did that he was able to convince his manager to make the changes necessary to portray the true picture of what was going on at the GMU plant.  His attitude and persistence are to be commended and his actions show that he is truly a professional.” ♦