Water Online

JUL 2017

Water Innovations gives Water and Wastewater Engineers and end-users a venue to find project solutions and source valuable product information. We aim to educate the engineering and operations community on important issues and trends.

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By Oliver Grievson W hat does it mean for a wastewater network to be "smart"? What is the wastewater industry hoping to achieve by going on a "smart" journey? It is a subject that has rattled around the water and wastewater industries for many years, and yet most of the focus has been on the potable water network side of the business, where the obvious gain is reducing non-revenue water. However, in the past few years the value of acting more "intelligently" in the wastewater network — nay, the wastewater system — has come more to the forefront as the value of taking a similar journey to our potable water colleagues comes to bear. The question is, where do we start? The wastewater network is a complex system, as it has multiple inlets and multiple outputs (if you take storm overflows into context). The answer from some of the water and sewerage companies (WASCs) and consultants working with them has been to take a number of different approaches, as we have recently heard at a number of conferences and workshops in the area of "smart wastewater networks." Starting Small And From The Ground Up The major problem is in understanding the exact problem and from where it comes — and in so doing, devising a strategy for its resolution. Is the problem related to … ? • Flooding of both internal and external properties • Pollution incident detection and management • Alarm handling and response • Blockages and sewer misuse • Asset reliability and the cost of running the network • Sewer capacity and storm overflows In truth, it is a combination of all of the above, and there are various teams in all of the WASCs handling different aspects of what has to be done to protect the customer and the environment. One of the major issues is that of sewer misuse, be it from fats, oils, and grease (FOG) to the wonderful aspects of what people throw down the supposed "wet bin." Any network technician in the industry will talk about FOG and unflushables as a major problem that has been attributed to 50 percent of all pollution incidents and 66 percent of all flooding incidents for one of the UK's WASCs. The solution is, of course, education and working with customers to understand the consequences of putting the wrong thing down the drain. Despite this, there are technological solutions to the problem as well. A recent Sensors for Water Interest Group (SWIG) workshop heard from one engineer his vision of building the technological solution up from the bottom by using a combination of pump reversal modules that reverse the pump to clear blockages on an automatic basis, restarting pumps, and providing flow meters to detect whether a pump is actually working or not. The effect is to increase technician visibility of what is 24 wateronline.com n Water Innovations Smart Wastewater Networks, From Micro To Macro The journey to "smart" has proven more challenging for wastewater networks than for potable water, but real- world impact is imminent. Learn what potential awaits the industry at monitoring's latest frontier. The major problem is in understanding the exact problem and from where it comes — and in so doing, devising a strategy for its resolution.

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