BY Andrew Chastain-Howley

Don’t harm human health. Don’t harm the ecosystem. These are among the mantras of the water and wastewater treatment community. Abiding by permit requirements is critical for ensuring community safety.

“An estimated 14,748 Publicly Operated Wastewater Treatment Works provide wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal service to 238.2 million people [in the United States],” (EPA, 2016). That’s a lot of people to serve and protect.

Knowing what is coming out of the treatment plant is of the utmost importance. Currently, utilities may leverage some standardized reporting, but there isn’t a lot of real-time knowledge disseminated throughout each company. With this limitation, when an issue occurs, the operator is left wondering, “How did it fail?” or “How do we handle this issue?” The water and wastewater utility industry is transitioning away from a reactive, run-to-failure, issues-mitigation approach to one that’s proactive; and this is one area where more active monitoring and predictive capability is the driver for proactivity. 

Utilities can manage to stay ahead of their water quality data with near real-time, time-series sensor data integration and analytics. Now technicians and operators can see advanced warning of changes coming from the influent and treatment processes so that they can address it before it leaves the site. Some of the wastewater quality sampling still requires significant validation, which may take a day or more for results to be interpreted. However, if these datasets of differing frequency can be included in the analytics then actionable intelligence is possible.

Analytical platforms allow wastewater operators and technicians to look at the mechanical equipment and plant chemistry by automating process variable analysis and keeping an eye on evolving trends before the treated effluent leaves the treatment plant.

Regulatory compliance is required and essential. Learn more about how our wastewater treatment solution can support these efforts. 


Andrew Chastain-Howley

Andrew Chastain-Howley leads data analytics solution development for water and wastewater systems at Atonix Digital. He has more than 27 years’ experience in the fields of water resources and asset management including: smart integrated infrastructure, treatment plant monitoring, distribution system optimization, and advanced metering infrastructure. In addition to formal training at the University of St. Andrews, and Cranfield University, his professional background includes work in the Middle East, Europe, Australia, and North America, for numerous government agencies, and private concerns.

Read more blogs by Andrew Chastain-Howley