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The chemical treatment of wastewater is perhaps the most crucial part of wastewater treatment practices, and it has largely remained unchanged for the last 100 years.

Conventional operations can include the processing of sewage/effluent through various stages of comprehensive chemical treatment, like pH neutralisation, oxidation, ion exchange, coagulation and flocculation.

Although these practices can help achieve better outcomes for plants, they can involve multi-step, time-consuming processes that are now struggling to keep up with the unpredictable environmental factors of modern times.

To accommodate these new conditions, while simultaneously improving chemical and energy use in treatment plants, operators need to understand an expansive amount of data. Processing this data is a time-consuming and labour-intensive process, so how can it be managed efficiently and with plant objectives in mind?

The solution could be in the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is transforming the conventional multi-step process and helping operators maintain wastewater treatment facilities more effectively by enhancing the efficiency of older systems.

Learning from operations, predictive control uses dynamic data to provide recommendations based on the ever-changing conditions of a water-intensive industrial plant.

Here are three ways that AI can help improve wastewater treatment:

1. AI is used for continuous learning to guide operational improvements

Wastewater treatment operators need to discern from various factors – such as biological relationships, pressure, flow and water quality – the proper steps to achieve a certain treatment outcome. AI can use all this past data to not only remind operators of past best management practices, but also to find unknown relationships within sewage and effluent treatment systems.

2. It identifies intelligent cost-saving opportunities aligned with compliance standards

AI can work to reduce operating costs – such as chemical overuse and energy consumption – all while improving or maintaining compliance. This mitigates the costs associated with large process changes that typically require capital improvement projects.

3. It helps any organisation adopt a water optimisation mindset

Innovyze has combined all associated disciplines to create unique machine learning models for the water industry. The result is water optimisation intelligence that can be implemented in both municipal and industrial water systems. Ultimately, operators can access solutions created by water engineers, for water users.

No longer do wastewater treatment plants need to overspend their funds to learn how to optimise static conditions, as Innovyze has partnered with municipalities and industrial partners to bring the benefit of AI to their systems.

These organisations are leveraging the power of AI and advancing computational processing to predict outcomes and optimise operations in real time. Now all wastewater treatment plants have the opportunity to evolve with modern times by joining the digital revolution of AI.

Innovyze is currently offering a free AI-readiness assessment and return on investment report which can highlight the benefits and potential savings that AI can bring your organisation across all stages of the water cycle.

This partner content is brought to you by Innovyse. To learn more about Innovyze’s AI solution, visit: www.innovyze.com/en-us/products/emagin.

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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