Water & Wastewater Treatment

WWT December 2019

Water & Wastewater Treatment Magazine

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Page 17 of 43

In Focus: Water quality Environmental concerns As well as improving resilience across its network, Wessex Water is demon- strating a commitment to protecting the environment while delivering water quality bene ts. Construction is currently underway at one of the company's water recycling centres in South Gloucestershire to develop a wetland at the site. The project at the Cromhall water recycling centre aims to deliver a more sustainable treatment method for e uent, replacing the traditional ferric dosing process. Wessex Water's director of environ- mental strategy, Ruth Barden, says: "Our wetland development at Cromhall water recycling centre is designed to be a completely natural phosphorus removal process, as opposed to the traditional fer- ric dosing method. "Instead of using chemicals and ex- cess energy, the lakes we're constructing will become a natural habitat for wildlife. We have planted tens of thousands of na- tive wetland plants to enable the natural phosphorus removal processes to occur, improving the quality of the nal e u- ent." ‡The project demonstrates a more holistic approach to water treatment and reducing the impact on the wider environ- ment. Barden adds: "Our ambition with the project is to not only provide a more sustainable and resilient treatment meth- od to deliver water quality bene ts, but also to improve the ecology in the area and amenity for the local community." Digital tools Northumbrian Water is similarly taking a more holistic approach to water quality and is collaborating with stakeholders to drive innovation across the business. As part of this, the company is looking at the role digitalisation can play in the re ne- ment of water management processes. "We work in an open innovation environment, sharing our challenges with suppliers and working with academia on longer term projects," says Alan Brown, head of water quality at Northumbrian Water. "We're using digitalisation to bet- ter understand the journey of a drop of water better, from catchment through to the customer tap and this involves better use of data to make proactive choices on how we manage our water assets and the ‰ ow of water through them." ‡This focus on collaboration was il- lustrated at the company's Innovation Festival in June this year, which included a three-day data hack focused on water quality. "We used data insights and visualisation, to see how diŒ erent mixes of water from diŒ erent sources (blends) could in‰ uence both the number of cus- tomer contacts, and the performance of the customer tap, especially in relation to things like metals," explains Brown. ‡"Following this, we've taken forward a number of diŒ erent ideas from key stakeholders who joined the hack, one of which is a predictive model that identi es how changing the percentage of water supplied from diŒ erent water treatment works into a given supply area, can im- pact on customer contacts." In addition, Northumbrian Water is now working with a digital partner, who is developing a predictive model to understand how both burst water mains and preventative maintenance on the water network can in‰ uence water qual- ity. Brown adds: "We want these models to enable us to make better operational decisions to proactively manage the risk to water quality and make the customer experience even better." The team also looked at how digital twin technology could bene t water qual- ity at the Innovate East event in Septem- ber, in partnership with Anglian Water. "During the three-day sprint, we explored the introduction of sensors to model asset deterioration, which would give us better information about when to intervene on an asset and repair it, before any failure occurs," says Brown. Predictive monitoring Developing smarter water networks is not a new concept, but the pace of change has undoubtedly increased in recent years. While continuous monitoring of ‰ ow and pressure is well established, continuous water quality monitoring is catching up. "Water treatment plants have been designed and operated with automatic real-time control for a long time, but the upstream and downstream systems less so," explains Thomas. "We're at a turning point in the way that water quality is managed in the distribution network." Looking ahead, Thomas believes companies will continue to be less reliant on spot sampling and customer feedback, with increased focus on network-based sensors. And as the sector moves towards smart solutions, the 'digital twin' ap- proach could provide exciting opportuni- ties for water networks. "Our digital engineering and asset management in a BIM compliant, 3D en- vironment provides the foundation for a digital twin," says Thomas. "[We are] sup- porting our clients' move to higher levels so that the bene ts can be realised." As the industry moves towards smarter networks, data streams can be utilised for real-time insight to help water companies increase operational eš ciencies and reduce risk. With digital tools like sensors maturing rapidly while costs are decreas- ing, delivering quality data is inextricably linked to delivering water quality. Caption › UTILITY WEEK LIVE Working alongside our sister brands Utility Week and Network, WWT is running a year-long Utility of the Future campaign, which focuses on how companies can face up to the major tests they face on climate change, customers, regulation, technology and business models & skills. To achieve their targets, water companies will not only have to adopt new ideas and innovative technologies but to collaborate to identify solutions that can help the whole sector fi nd the best route forward. This campaign will be brought to life at Utility Week Live in Birmingham from 19-20 May 2020. Visit www.utilityweeklive.co.uk Caption 18 | DECEMBER 2019 | WWT | www.wwtonline.co.uk

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