AWOP National Meeting Was a Success

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States and EPA regions participating in the Area Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) met in Cincinnati this month for their 7th National meeting.  The event is held every two years to bring together all the AWOP community to learn about the latest optimization tools and approaches, and exchange information with other states and regions about how to effectively implement the program and improve public health protection.  This meeting celebrated the 20th year of AWOP as the program was first piloted in Region 4 in 1997.  In addition to the active AWOP states and regions, attendees represented 2 new states interested in learning about AWOP and visitors from the wastewater side hoping to leverage AWOP experience to improve wastewater treatment.  Representatives from two water systems shared how participation in AWOP improved their water system operations and resulting water quality.

The theme of the meeting was “Solid to the Core – Strengthened by 20 Years of Optimization”.  In keeping with that theme, the content of the meeting focused on the three core components of AWOP – Status, Targeted Performance Improvement (TPI), and Maintenance.  Each of these areas was explored in depth, including reports by states or water systems on their experiences and interactive workshops that allowed attendees to explore opportunities to improve the process moving forward.  Each of the agencies represented, states and EPA, began the meeting by sharing the impact of AWOP.  Some shared information about specific water systems that improved water quality after participating in AWOP events.  Other reports reflected the overall improvement in performance state-wide due to AWOP activities.  All were enthusiastic about their work with AWOP and confident that it is making a difference for both states and water systems.