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Distribution Program

The Partnership's mission is to improve the quality of drinking water delivered to customers of public water supplies by optimizing system operations.

Drinking water system customers receive water that has been delivered through an extensive conveyance network. Often the high quality water coming from treatment plants changes as it travels to the users. Optimizing distribution system operation can reduce this transformation. After more than 10 years of discussion, planning, and research, the PSW has developed an optimization program for distribution systems to help water suppliers improve the quality and reliability of water supplied to their customers. Hundreds of utility representatives, State and Federal regulators, consultants, and other interested experts have provided their advice and support to develop a voluntary continuous improvement program for distribution system operation.

Program Phases:

The Distribution System Optimization program is similar to the treatment plant program that has been successful for more than fifteen years. The program consists of four phases.

Phase I - Commitment

Distribution system operators agree to continue the program at least through Phase III and conform to the ethical and regulatory requirements.

Phase II - Baseline and Annual Data Collection

Systems agree to collect disinfectant residual data and send it to the Partnership annually. The initial data set reflects baseline conditions. Disinfectant residual data is from routine sample sites and entry points to the distribution system.

Phase III - Self-Assessment

This is the primary element of the program. Systems conduct a comprehensive assessment of their system operation. A self-assessment guide and performance assessment software are provided with membership. The self-assessment process identifies performance limiting factors that are used to develop an improvement plan. The plan may involve many personnel and can take several years to complete. Finally the system prepares a summary report (guidance and report generation tools are provided) and presents this to the Partnership. The report is reviewed by a team of utility professionals. If the report demonstrates a "good-faith effort" the Partnership provides the Directors Award of recognition. Meeting the Partnership optimization goals is not required to receive this Award.

Phase IV - Optimized Performance

This is the ultimate level of system performance receiving the Excellence in Distribution System Operation award. Systems must prove that they are meeting all the optimization goals. Few systems are expected to reach this level but all systems can improve and bring their performance closer to the goals. Specific requirements for this award are yet to be determined. To be eligible a system must be a current recipient of the Directors Award.