Area-Wide Optimization Program (AWOP)

Area-Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) is a voluntary multi-state effort in which states work together to develop and implement individual state programs to support public water systems with the optimization of their treatment processes and distribution systems. AWOP is designed to assist water systems with their current physical and organizational infrastructures, identifying capital improvements needed to enhance public health protection.


Why Optimize?

AWOP participation not only enhances relationships between states and water systems, but drinking water research demonstrates increased public health protection by achieving optimized performance goals.

AWOP Training:

  • Provides opportunities for staff to interact with system operators in a non-regulatory, collegial setting to promote relationship building.
  • Assists staff in learning about the mechanics of water treatment and instrumentation and the challenges that operators face.
  • Provides a framework for assisting operators (i.e., how to lead them to their own solution).
  • Provides tools for operators that help visualize data to determine trends and take proactive approaches towards maintaining water quality.
  • Includes advanced operator training on treatment process and distribution system optimization topics (addresses operator requests for more advanced training).

Staff professional development:

  • Skills developed in technical, leadership, program integration, and facilitation areas.
  • Train-the-trainer approach utilized.
  • AWOP often credited for improved morale and job satisfaction.

Objective and Background

  • The primary goal is to maximize public health protection through optimization of existing water treatment and distribution facilities (i.e., without major capital improvements).
  • The program promotes water quality and monitoring goals that exceed regulatory requirements; these provide increased public health protection, a “compliance insurance policy” for water systems, a proactive compliance approach for State Drinking Water Programs, and assist public water systems in achieving compliance.
  • Originally focused on microbial (turbidity) water quality in surface water treatment plants, the program has expanded to include approaches to control disinfection byproducts and harmful algal blooms, while maintaining distribution system water quality in both surface and ground water systems.
  • The program stresses the importance of ensuring data quality by developing checklists for field and plant equipment whose data are critical to becoming an optimized water treatment plant.
  • The program is managed by the OGWDW-SRMD’s Technical Support Center in Cincinnati, with support from four EPA Regions and ASDWA; AWOP is implemented in over 20 states.


AWOP is uniquely divided into four different regions that cross EPA Regional boundaries and can include multiple EPA Regions. Click the links next to the map to view individual state AWOP webpages.*

*Not every state has a dedicated AWOP webpage.

For additional AWOP information, please contact Kevin Letterly (