Increasing Water Treatment Analytics for Waste Water Treatment Plants

Modular data management solutions tailored to the unique requirements of water treatment operations

Modular data management solutions tailored to the unique requirements of water treatment operations

Ranging from the largest metropolitan water treatment plant (WTP) or wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) operations to the smallest rural systems, achieving regulatory compliance and yielding good results at a low cost are always the goal of WTP and WWTP applications. The best control solutions are varied in terms of process, plant size, and budgetary limitations.

A common strategy that works across virtually all applications is that good data, properly analyzed, yields good results.

Prepare to Maximize Results at Every Level of Performance

Gaining optimal control over an entire facility necessitates numerous levels of analytic instrumentation and software systems that work efficiently together. Basically, this entails analyzing the chemistry of source water entering a plant and the effluent leaving it.

Solutions that automatically provide real-time, in situ sampling and share data with plant control systems offer tangible benefits. In more complex applications, this can also include applying discrete measurements from multiple in-line instruments and analyzers to facilitate treatment processes and come up with a cost-effective performance. During its peak productivity, a solution should extend to managing the process flow of a facility as well as asset maintenance and management.

  • Instrumentation – Balancing chemical compositions and reactions in the water flow is dependent on accurate readings from a variety of measurement and analysis instruments, such as flow meters, turbidity analyzers, pH analyzers, or dissolved oxygen sensors.
    If possible, it is salient to choose designs that maintain tight tolerances, offer robust design to withstand harsh water conditions, provide reliable readings in real time, and interface well with higher-level control systems.
  • Asset optimization – Generating the best possible outcome from a treatment process involves utilizing accurate, real-time data from in-line instrumentation. Users should seek system solutions that offer maximum flexibility for the process, work environment, and users who interact with it.
  • Asset management – When control systems are finally fine-tuned to optimize process efficiency, it is essential to then focus the attention on higher-level analytics to yield maximum value from plant infrastructure. This involves monitoring and managing equipment for a trouble-free performance life, a high return on investment (ROI), and lowest total cost of ownership (TCO).

Target Essential Analytic and Control Goals

Differing source water profiles, in terms of total organic carbon (TOC), pH, or turbidity, pose various water treatment challenges. Regardless of the water chemistry being measured or the sensing technology being used, solutions that automatically provide real-time in situ sampling and share data with plant control systems provide solid benefits:

  • Speed of response – The first step to cost efficiency is choosing a method that provides the quickest access to process flow condition data and enables the quickest decision-making for maximum efficiency.
  • Continuous regulatory compliance – Understanding the components of the source water and treated water is salient, especially when water chemistry adjustments are needed to meet compliance guidelines, avoid penalties for non-compliance, or provide the best quality water.
  • Efficient and effective energy end chemical use – Despite the instrument quality, waiting to identify and react to real-world conditions may minimize opportunities for operation. As a resolution, enterprise software for distributed control and asset management may be helpful as it could react to the slightest changes in water chemistries and project future trends in equipment life, guiding optimal decision-making for overall best control and operating efficiency.

Follow Data to Its Logical Conclusion

Understanding process characteristics on the spot is critical to creating quality outcomes, but tracing the long-term performance of both water quality and plant efficiency is the most salient method of managing long-term operations. Modular data management solutions that are tailor-fitted to unique water treatment operational requirements allow users to answer key questions about process throughput to achieve better asset optimization:

  • Are these pumps operating at optimum efficiency at the moment?
  • Is it possible to squeeze in a bit more capacity from existing assets?
  • Are there surfacing patterns or trends developing, such as increased capacity running through remote lift stations as a storm front moves through, that could warn users of the need to clear out tanks and ramp up capacity in a short period of time?

The benefits of automated operation and higher-level analysis are not limited to process control, as they can extend to structural and financial analyses, impacting the long-term viability of WTP and WWTP infrastructures. Plant managers, as historic process performance data is recorded and analyzed, are able to answer a broader set of questions about maintenance and repair associated with long-term infrastructure asset management:

  • Is there an increased frequency of alarms from one aspect of a process?
  • Are individual pieces of equipment producing excess vibration?
  • Is this a predictable maintenance issue or an equipment breakdown?
  • Can the equipment be repaired or does it need to be replaced?

Similarly to when PID controls or DCS systems close the control loop on plant processes, analytical software closes the loop between operations and asset management. This allows operators to change management methodology, from reactive maintenance to more predictive maintenance.

By utilizing aspects of machine learning, asset optimization software could help operators come up with more efficient solutions based on normalized data and pattern recognition from historical performance, past reactions, and resulting outcomes.

Plan a Road Map to Greater Efficiency

Information on the process of mapping out analytic strategies for WTP and WWTP applications may be acquired from water analysis instrumentation and performance analytics software articles. Additionally, more insight about various topics related to WTP and WWTP is available via manufacturer websites.

Essentially, asset optimization software is programmed to make use of the knowledge of experienced water plant operators, interpret sensor readings, anticipate upset conditions, and respond with automated control in the same way an experienced plant manager would run manual controls.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by ABB Measurement & Analytics.

For more information on this source, please visit ABB Measurement & Analytics.

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