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TOP Participation and Requirements

Requirements that must be met to participate in the TOP.

How Can My Surface Water Treatment Plant Participate in TOP?

Since the TOP Recognition Program is not a regulatory requirement, you will need to let the TCEQ know that you are interested in participating in the voluntary program. If you are interested in participating the TOP Recognition Program criteria, contact Mason Miller of the TOP Team and request a copy of the TOP's participation agreement and some additional information about the program. Once you sign and return the agreement, you are enrolled in the program and can begin submitting the TOP Monthly Optimization Report (TOPMOR) form.

Although the information that you will receive with the agreement form will contain more facts about the TOP Recognition Program, some of the highlights of the program are:

  • Each filter at your plant must be equipped with an on-line turbidimeter that continuously monitors the performance of the filter.
  • You do not have to conduct a CPE before joining the Recognition Program.
  • You may withdraw from the program at any time.
  • The plant must submit a one-page TOP Monthly Operational Report each month. This TOPMOR must be submitted in addition to any other reports required by the TCEQ.
  • If you do not receive at least one TOP Recognition Award every 18 months, you will need to withdraw from the program or have a CPE conducted by the TCEQ or an independent party. You are not required to provide the TCEQ with a copy of the CPE results but you will need to tell them that the CPE has been completed.

TOP Routine Monitoring Requirements

A water treatment plant that participates in the TOP Recognition Program must monitor the performance of each major treatment unit at the plant. While some of this testing is required by state and federal regulations, other tests are used to show that each treatment unit is achieving optimized performance. For example:

  • Raw water turbidity levels (i.e., the turbidity of the water entering the plant) must be tested at least once each day.
  • The turbidity of the water leaving each sedimentation basin or clarifier must be tested at least once each day.
  • The turbidity level of the water leaving each filter must be continuously monitored.
  • The turbidity level water leaving the plant must be monitored at least once every four hours.

TOP Special Monitoring Requirements

At least once each month, the performance of each filter must be recorded during an entire filter run using an on-line turbidimeter with a continuous recorder. The purpose of this special study is to determine how quickly the filter is recovering to normal conditions after it is placed into service and to determine if there might be any unusual performance characteristics that are not detected by routine filter monitoring. During the first 30 minutes of the filter run, data must be collected at 1-minute intervals. After 30 minutes, the data should be collected at 5-minute intervals but must be collected at least once every 15-minutes.

TOP Reporting Requirements

Every plant that is participating in the TOP Recognition Program must submit a TOP Monthly Operational Report (TOPMOR) each month. The plant staff must record the following information on that form:

For each monitoring site:

  • Total number turbidity readings
  • Maximum turbidity level recorded
  • Minimum turbidity level recorded

For specific monitoring sites:

  • Number of settled water readings > 2.0 NTU
  • Number of settled water readings > 5.0 NTU
  • Number of filtered water readings > 0.10 NTU
  • Number of filtered water readings > 0.1 NTU
  • Number of filtered water readings > 0.5 NTU

For each filter profile:

  • Maximum turbidity level during filter run.
  • Minimum turbidity level during filter run.
  • Post backwash turbidity level after 15 minutes of operation.
  • Post backwash turbidity level after 30 minutes of operation.

TOP Recognition Criteria

After you start monitoring and reporting the optimization data, the TCEQ will recognize your achievements if you meet the goals. For more information on the goals recognition criteria, see the TOP Goals & Recognition webpage.

TOP Forms

To Learn More

For more information on the Texas Optimization Program, contact our Public Drinking Water staff and mention the Texas Optimization Program.