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  Handbook, Optimizing Water Treatment Plant Performance Using the Composite Correction Program (246 pp, 5.07 MB) (EPA/625/6-91/027) August 1998

Maintaining public health protection at water supply systems has become more challenging in recent years with the resistance of some pathogens to disinfection using chlorination and with the increase in the immunocompromised population (e.g., people with HIV, organ transplant patients, the elderly). Also, as evidenced by recent outbreaks, compliance with the 1989 Surface Water Treatment Rule does not always ensure maximum protection of the public from waterborne disease. Therefore, EPA is developing regulations to control contamination from microbial pathogens in drinking water while concurrently addressing other concerns such as disinfection by-products. These new and interrelated regulations are moving the water supply industry toward meeting increasingly more stringent water treatment requirements.

Research and field work results support optimizing particle removal at water treatment facilities to maximize public health protection from microbial contamination. Since 1988, the Composite Correction Program has been used in the United States and Canada as a method of optimizing surface water treatment plant performance with respect to protection from microbial pathogens. The approach is based on establishing effective use of the available water treatment process barriers against passage of particles to the finished water.

The Composite Correction Program approach was initially developed to address compliance problems at wastewater treatment facilities that were constructed in the late 1960s and 1970s. A survey of over 100 facilities was conducted to identify the reasons for the noncompliance. The survey revealed that operations and maintenance factors were frequently identified as limiting plant performance and that administrative and design factors were also contributing to the limitations. Most importantly, each plant that was evaluated had a unique list of performance-limiting factors.

Based on these findings, an approach was developed to identify and address performance limitations at individual facilities and to improve performance. Significant success was achieved in improving performance at many wastewater treatment facilities without major capital improvements. Ultimately, a handbook was developed that formalized the evaluation and correction procedures. The formalized approached became the Composite Correction Program; its two components are Comprehensive Performance Evaluation and Comprehensive Technical Assistance.

This handbook, an updated version of the 1991 edition, is intended to serve as a resource for optimizing the performance of existing surface water treatment facilities to provide protection from microbial contamination.


Jim Smith

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