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Area Wide Optimization Program (AWOP)

two people sampling at an AWOP event
Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Area Wide Optimization Program (AWOP)

Mike Bolf, Engineering Unit Supervisor

Beginning in 2017 the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) joined the Area Wide Optimization Program (AWOP). AWOP is a program designed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the goal of enhancing public health protection by working with existing water supplies to optimize their operations. This voluntary program is implemented by States with support from EPA. As of July 2019, Michigan is one of 29 States participating in AWOP.

To achieve the many benefits of AWOP and meet the goals of the program, water systems are encouraged to adopt enhanced plant performance monitoring, reporting, and documentation.  To meet the established goals, EGLE has been emphasizing several aspects of operation for surface water treatment plants.  Now that the program has been active in the State for a few years, EGLE would like to remind surface water treatment plants to consider implementing the following:

  • Conventional and direct filtration plants should report the MAXIMUM individual filter effluent turbidity when the filter is in operation for each day.
  • Conventional filtration plants should monitor and report the MAXIMUM turbidity measurement from each settled water effluent train.
  • In addition to verifying the calibration of each turbidimeter using a primary standard at least once every 90 days, manufacturers' recommended maintenance and cleaning procedures and schedules should be followed.
  • Water treatment plants are encouraged to formally adopt national optimization goals for settled and filtered turbidity.
  • All shift operators should be familiar with the optimization goals and SOPs should be structured to promote achievement of the goals.

In addition to the aspects listed above, EGLE is also emphasizing the following for surface water treatment plants utilizing membrane filtration:

  • Continuously monitor turbidity on the effluent of each individual filter unit (i.e. skid, rack, etc).
  • Program the control system to alarm and shutdown the individual filter unit if turbidity reaches 0.15 NTU.
  • Ensure each individual filter unit undergoes a direct integrity test (DIT) every day it is in operation.
  • Identify the upper control limit of the direct integrity test to raise operator awareness of the pass/fail threshold.
  • Include DIT test results (and corresponding log removal values if available) and daily MAXIMUM turbidity of each individual filter unit on monthly operation reports.

Optimization Assessment Software (OAS)

U.S. EPA developed the Optimization Assessment Software (OAS) to help AWOP participants analyze water plant turbidity performance and compare plant performance to the AWOP goals. All water systems can track and chart a year of raw, settled, individual filter, and combined filter effluent turbidity data.  Membrane filtration plants can also track and chart their direct integrity test results and log removal values. Several OAS templates are found below, in addition to a video that provides step by step instructions on how to use the OAS.

Optimization Assessment Software (OAS) Video