How AI Optimizes the Chemical Treatment of Wastewater

Back to blog home

November 5, 2020

Wastewater treatment is a complex process that has largely remained unchanged for the last 100 years. Besides the physical and biological processes, the chemical treatment of wastewater is the third and perhaps the most crucial part of sewage processing and wastewater treatment practices. Typical operations include the processing of sewage/effluent through various stages of comprehensive chemical treatment, like pH neutralization, oxidation, ion exchange, coagulation, and flocculation.

This approach ensures better effluent treatment to produce cleaner treated or recycled water. However, it is a tall order to execute multi-step chemical wastewater treatment from within the existing status quo. There are multiple reasons why wastewater operators struggle to maintain efficiency while operating a conventional wastewater treatment facility.

Manual dosing: A host of chemicals are used for effective wastewater water treatment, including acidic compounds, alkaline solutions, and aluminum and iron salts. Some of these chemicals are coagulating agents, aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum sulfate as flocculants, and various oxidizing agents. The manual dose adjustment of such a large number of wastewater chemicals in different treatment phases is intrinsically error-prone.

Lack of Data-Driven Approach: Instead of using data sets highlighting past performance and forecasted conditions, conventional chemical treatment operates on preset values without real-time changes.

Excess Chemical Procurement and Use: With manual dosing and in the absence of a data-driven strategy, wastewater facilities inevitably end up procuring and using an excessive amount of sewage treatment chemicals, resulting in mounting operational expenditures and more likely compliance breaches.

How AI Optimizes Chemical Wastewater Treatment

AI software solutions can help operators efficiently use chemicals used in wastewater treatment. These are the five areas where AI optimizes sewage treatment chemical usage and streamlines the wastewater treatment. 

1. AI Works with SCADA and Plant Processing Data

The wastewater treatment status quo is usually based on SCADA and similar system controls. AI software solutions can integrate with the existing SCADA, plant process data, and control systems via multiple hardware-to-software communication channels. This seamless integration enhances the data processing capability of the existing plant SCADA/IT infrastructure.

2. Quick Near-Real-Time Adaptation

The robust machine learning and feedback mechanism of AI software enable it to modify chemical dosing quickly. It can detect near-real-time changes in effluent composition and quality and adjust the dosing accordingly. This intuitive adaptation is impossible with full manual control that often results in under and overdosing the wastewater.

3. AI Provides Predictive Recommendations

AI software applications consider the plant’s track record and real-time performance to draw out predictive recommendations for operators. This intuitive and AI-based forecasting helps plant operators improve their decision-making for more accurate and efficient results.

4. AI Doesn’t Replace Operators 

Instead of overriding operators and manual control, AI software solutions act as intelligent assistants for operators and managers. The combination of AI/MI with human intelligence makes for excellent management and optimization of chemical wastewater treatment.

5. AI Works within Existing Regulatory Framework 

Wastewater treatment facility managers can configure AI software solutions in line with the regulatory requirements of their industry. This way, they can ensure their wastewater treatment remains complied with industry standards and protect them from non-compliance penalties.

Emagin is an AI software solution that can optimize the chemical treatment of wastewater. It leverages machine learning to analyze wastewater treatment plant data and provide predictive recommendations so that plant operators and managers can meet their clean water/wastewater objectives at the best-operating costs while meeting all the regulatory compliances.  

Interested in Learning More?

Discover Emagin

Tags: ai, wastewater treatment, chemical treatment of wastewater