Thermal desalination systems are typically integrated with power plants to exploit the excess heat resulting from the power-generation units. Using seawater in cooling the power plant and the desalination system is a common practice in many parts of the world where there is a shortage of freshwater. Biofouling is one of the major problems associated with the usage of seawater in cooling systems. Because of the dynamic variation in the power and water demands as well as the changes in the characteristics of seawater and the process, there is a need to develop an optimal policy for scheduling biocide usage and cleaning maintenance of the heat exchangers. The objective of this article is to introduce a systematic procedure for the optimization of scheduling the dosing of biocide and dechlorination chemicals as well as cleaning maintenance for a power production/thermal desalination plant. A multi-period optimization formulation is developed and solved to determine: the optimal levels of dosing and dechlorination chemicals; the timing of maintenance to clean the heat-exchange surfaces; and the dynamic dependence of the biofilm growth on the applied doses, the seawater-biocide chemistry, the process conditions, and seawater characteristics for each time period. The technical, economic, and environmental considerations of the system are accounted for. A case study is solved to elucidate the applicability of the developed optimization approach. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.