Data analytics in control and operation of municipal wastewater treatment plants: qualitative analysis of needs and barriers

Sanni Eerikäinen*, Henri Haimi, Anna Mikola, Riku Vahala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This study aims to identify barriers and needs for the application of data analytics in municipal wastewater treatment. The study was conducted through a series of interviews with stakeholders involved in instrumentation, control, and automation of wastewater treatment plants. Opportunities and limitations observed by different stakeholders were assessed with a thematic analysis. Thematic analysis enabled a broader consideration of social and organizational aspects related to process control, operation, and maintenance. Identified key barriers for applying data analytics included laborious instrumentation maintenance, unstable control loops, and deficient customization of digital tools for users at wastewater treatment plants. Development needs include easier data processing tools, quality assurance of instrumentation, and controller tuning. Results indicate that the perceived potential of data analytics is highly dependent on the performance of underlying physical and digital systems, as well as the control strategies and operating environment of the plant. Despite the barriers, users and developers see many potential applications for data analytics and expect them to have a central role in the control and operation of wastewater treatment plants in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2681-2690
Number of pages10
JournalWater Science & Technology
Volume82
Issue number12
Early online date6 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • data analytics
  • municipal wastewater treatment
  • operation and maintenance
  • process control
  • stakeholders
  • thematic analysis

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