Elkins Water Plant Hosts First Region-Wide Optimization Program | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo Submitted The Elkins Water Plant hosted the first-ever region-wide optimization program.

ELKINS — Regulators from across the United States recently gathered at the Elkins Water Plant to participate in the first region-wide optimization program.

The program, which was designed by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, encourages local water utilities to exceed current regulations by optimizing the performance of existing facilities without costly capital upgrades.

AWOP officials met with six water regulator representatives, including one from Elkins, from different parts of the United States to learn how to use the AWOP approach in operating plants using membrane treatment .

Seven state drinking water programs also attended the workshop, as did the director of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators. Three EPA regional offices and the EPA Technical Service Center in Cincinnati, Ohio were also represented.

“This workshop is for regulators who don’t have many opportunities to actually get to grips with a membrane processing plant,” Wes Lambert, Elkins Chief Water System Operator, spoke about the training.

“Membrane technology is still new in the United States and especially here in West Virginia, and regulators are still figuring out what the goalposts should look like,” he said. “It was really encouraging for me and my team to choose our plant as part of the process of developing regulations for the whole country.”

In addition to focusing on membrane data integrity and discussing potable water produced by membrane plants, the workshop discussed how plant operators could improve in other areas. plant operations, such as maintenance and data management.

“One of the reasons this workshop had to take place in a working membrane plant is that these regulators want to fully understand the true accuracy of this type of system,” said Lambert. “They don’t want to base their regulations on manufacturers’ claims because those systems may work differently here in the field.”

Lambert noted that those present were impressed with the record keeping and transparency at the Elkins plant. He also felt that the training was valuable for all who participated.

“We hear that many systems are not always welcoming to outside eyes, as they might be afraid of gaps being discovered,” he said. “Personally, I welcome visits from people of this caliber to help assess what we are doing, as it is a great learning opportunity for all.

“It was really time well spent. This is one area where if you’re not constantly learning, you’re going to fall behind. Everyone learned a lot during this event, including me.

Elkins cut the ribbon for the new $37 million water plant in July 2018.

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