What Is the Texas Optimization Program?
The Texas Optimization Program (TOP) is a voluntary, nonregulatory program designed to dramatically improve the performance of existing surface water treatment plants without major capital improvements. The underlying mission of the TOP is to protect the public health of Texas’ citizens.
What Is Optimization?
Optimization is an ongoing process that involves:
- setting performance targets for each major treatment unit in the surface water treatment plant,
- monitoring the performance of each of the major treatment units,
- analyzing the data to determine if each unit is achieving the desired performance level, and
- taking corrective action if the performance objectives are not being met.
The goal of optimization is to lower the risk of waterborne disease by reducing the number of pathogenic organisms that could pass through a treatment plant. Optimization of a surface water treatment plant is achieved by identifying and addressing the various factors that limit its performance.
To produce the safest water possible, water systems must thoroughly evaluate the performance of its treatment plant and identify the various factors that might be limiting plant performance. The evaluation technique used most often by public water systems is the Comprehensive Performance Evaluation (CPE). One of the benefits of the CPE methodology is that it produces a prioritized list of performance-limiting factors. However, regardless of the method that is used, the evaluation must include an detailed assessment of:
- plant design,
- operational procedures,
- maintenance practices, and
- administrative policies.
Once performance-limiting factors are identified, the water system can begin to correct the problems. Frequently, the water system has all of the expertise that it needs to address the performance-limiting factors. However, in other cases, the plant may need the help of qualified engineers or other consultants. Some technical assistance may also be available from TCEQ staff that work in the Texas Optimization Program. Some of these staff members are assigned to the Office of Compliance and Enforcement and Water Supply Division staff.
Comprehensive Performance Evaluations (CPE)
The CPE is a tool that an operator can use to evaluate a plant's performance. In Texas, a water system can get an optimization CPE by volunteering as a training site for CPE training or by hiring trained personnel to perform a CPE. It usually takes a team of three to five trained people about four or five days to perform this exacting analysis. The utility receives a final report that can be used as a road map in making changes that will improve the plant's performance. Over 60 plants in Texas have received CPEs.
To Learn More
For more information on the Texas Optimization Program, see these Web pages:
or contact our Public Drinking Water staff and mention the Texas Optimization Program.