Smart water: Wastewater treatment solutions

Smart water: Wastewater treatment solutions

By using smart water technologies, wastewater treatment plants can optimize processes and significantly reduce energy use. Learn how two treatment plants reduced energy use by more than 90 percent using intelligent equipment and real-time monitoring.

Water utilities face a number of daily and long-term challenges when treating wastewater. They need to ensure their equipment operates efficiently, optimize energy use, and comply with regulatory and reporting requirements. All while managing limited budgets and resources.

Smart water solutions offer new ways to address wastewater challenges and opportunities. One way that wastewater plants can start using smart water technologies is with intelligent equipment that self-optimizes, such as mixers and pumps.

The next step can be to connect intelligent equipment with sensors and wireless networks. This enable operators to manage treatment in real time, which supports their decision making as well as regulatory compliance.

Wastewater treatment plants can also analyze all of the data they collect using advanced algorithms. These kinds of digital solutions enable the system to automatically adjust the treatment process to optimize equipment, energy use and resources.

Xylem’s smart water technologies for wastewater treatment

Xylem has created intelligent wastewater equipment that can deliver quick results. Its Flygt 4220 mixer, for example, is unique in having an integrated variable frequency drive. These advanced controls enable the mixer to adjust thrust and energy consumption based on changing conditions. It also provides continuous communication with the operator. The mixer can easily be controlled remotely by operators, other systems like SCADA, or system controllers via ModBus.

Water utilities can also significantly reduce energy consumption using Xylem’s OSCAR system with DINO controller. This system automatically adjusts the required aeration time in the digester based on potassium readings. The DINO controller alternates aerobic, anoxic and anaerobic conditions in the digester to optimize total nitrogen and phosphorus treatment while minimizing energy consumption.

Case: City of Albion, Michigan

Smart mixer reduces energy use by 92%

Challenge: A wastewater plant in Albion wanted to see how optimizing its mixing might impact other aspects of its treatment process. The plant has a conventional activated sludge process with two parallel trains. Operators wanted to test how modulating mixing speeds would reduce dissolved oxygen (DO), which could improve biological phosphorus removal and allow the plant to reduce chemical and energy use.

Solution and results: Xylem’s Flygt 4220 mixer was placed in an anoxic tank, replacing an existing compact mixer that drew a continuous 1.3 kW. The new mixer at first drew 0.53kW to produce the same thrust as the original mixer did for 1.3 kW. At the end of the test, the plant found that the Flygt mixer could draw 0.10 kW while still providing sufficient mixing, which was 8 percent of the energy use of the old mixer.

Case: Green Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant

Smart system lowers energy use by 95%

Challenge: The Green Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant was faced with rising operating costs due to increasing energy and chemical prices, as well as stricter effluent permit limits. To overcome these challenges, an advanced process control study was conducted in an aerobic digester at the plant.

Solution and results: The aerobic digester, equipped with Xylem’s OSCAR system with DINO controller, reduced nitrogen and phosphorous returned to the main treatment process by more than 90%. The solution also lowered energy consumption by more than 95%.

by Chad Henderson