Skip to content


Area-Wide Optimization Program

SC DHEC initiated the SC Area-Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) in 1997. AWOP is an effort to optimize the performance of existing surface water treatment facilities.  The goal of the program is to optimize particle removal and disinfection at all filtration plants to maximize public health protection.  AWOP was originally focused on microbial contaminants, but has expanded to include a disinfectant byproducts component.

Why Optimize? | How Does AWOP Work? | Optimized Performance Criteria
AWOP's Success | South Carolina Population Served By Optimized Plants | Links | Contact

AWOP Recent Achievement Awards

  • 2009 (Awarded September 16, 2009)

Annual Report: Area-Wide Optimization Program in South Carolina

Why optimize?
  • Optimization reduces the risk of a waterborne disease outbreak.
  • Optimization emphasizes improving the operation of existing facilities rather than building new facilities.
  • A public health professional's responsibility is to protect the health of their customers. 

How Does AWOP Work?

Status Component

  • Establish optimized performance goals.
  • Prioritize water systems based on public health risk.
  • Continuously monitor and assess performance data.
  • Develop professional relationship with water utilities to encourage continuous performance improvement.

Evaluation Component

  • Use existing programs to focus on optimized performance goals.
  • Implement Comprehensive Performance Evaluations at high risk systems.
  • Support other evaluation programs.
  • Identify and develop resources to sustain evaluation capability.
  • Provide quality control on third-party evaluation activities.

Follow-Up Component

  • Transfer optimization skills to plant personnel.
  • Use developed methods to systematically address factors which are limiting performance.
  • Develop resources to provide follow-up capability.
  • Performance-Based Training
  • Comprehensive Technical Assistance

Maintenance Component

  • Integrate AWOP into other state programs (permitting, training activities, sanitary surveys).
  • Review and revise program as needed.
  • Initiate and sustain quality control activities.

South Carolina's Optimized Performance Criteria

Sedimentation/Clarification Sedimentation Basin
Performance Criteria:

  • Settled water turbidity of less than 2 NTU 95 percent of the time where average annual raw water turbidity is greater than 10 NTU.
  • Settled water turbidity of less than 1 NTU 95 percent of the time where average annual raw water turbidity is less than or equal to 10 NTU.

Filtration Performance Criteria:

  • Filtered water turbidity of less than 0.1 NTU in 95 percent of the maximum turbidity samples reported each day (excluding 15 minute period following filter backwash).
  • Maximum filtered water turbidity of 0.3 NTU.

Disinfection By-Product Criteria:

  • Total trihalomethanes (TTHM) measured as dibromochloromethane) at 80 ppb; annual averages.
  • Haloacetic acids (HAA5) (measured as the sum concentration of monochloroacetic acid, dichloroacetic acid, trichloroacetic acid, monobromoacetic acid, and dibromoacetic acid) at 60 ppb; annual averages.
  • Bromate at 10ppb; annual averages.
  • Chlorite at 1.0 ppm; an average of three samples taken at least monthly.

AWOP's Success

South Carolina has experienced great success with the AWOP program.  Each year, more surface water systems have achieved optimized performance.  The increasing population served by optimized plants readily demonstrates the effectiveness of AWOP.  DHEC continues to promote the program and actively encourage surface water plants to commit to and achieve AWOP's goals.

South Carolina Population Served By Optimized Plants


SC AWOP Team Contact

Bureau of Water . Phone: (803) 898-4300 . Fax: (803) 898-3795 . Contact Us