Amersfoort, 3 June 2021 - Seven Rivierenland Water Authority’s pumping stations have recently been fully automated and are now controlled centrally. As a result, the wastewater treatment plant at Haaften can work optimally, 24 hours per day, during both dry and wet weather. If this pilot is successful, it can be rolled out across all of the water authority’s 192 pumping stations and 30 treatment plants. The main objective of the automation, is a steady incoming flow to the treatment plant, to allow it to run optimally at the lowest cost. Aquasuite, from Royal HaskoningDHV, handles the central digital management.
Standing: André de Keijzer, team leader of technical installations operational management; at the computer: Arno Treffers, Waterketen IRK operator
Rivierenland Water Authority manages a large area from the German border to the Biesbosch.
“ We want a steady incoming flow, in quantity and quality. This is essential for the best treatment process. We anticipate that using Aquasuite will result in lower energy use and less maintenance. You can compare it to a car: if it has to brake and accelerate constantly, in changing circumstances, then the fuel consumption will be higher. The car has to deal with more stress than when driving on a quiet country road.”
André de Keijzer,team leader of technical installations operational management at the water authority
“ Aquasuite is an operational digital twin, a virtual operator that continuously collects and analyses data about the performance of the transport pipes and connects this to the weather forecasts. Using this information, we can accurately control the pumping stations and balance them with each other 24/7, regulating the incoming flow as much as possible. It is unique that during the pilot, modules are used for the incoming flow during both rainy weather and dry weather for the first time. We expect energy savings of 5 to 10 percent at the pumping stations. We also expect additional energy savings because the wastewater treatment process can run more efficiently because of the regular incoming flow.”
Melchior Schenk, Aquasuite business development director at Royal HaskoningDHV
Sewerage System as Buffer
Another essential part of the central control is effective buffering in the municipal sewerage system.
“ Improved control and more efficient use of capacity is also in our best interest. Of course, we want as few problems as possible during heavy rainfall, such as flooding on the street and overflow, and as little inconvenience as possible for our citizens. Part of this is also the effect of sedimentation in the municipal sewer system, and the risk of blockages and cleaning costs.”
Jos Brok,Riolering en Water (sewerage and water) advisor in the municipality of West Betuwe
André de Keijzer: “We want to use the pilot to demonstrate that central control means that we can immediately intervene where the need is greatest. In the future, the municipal sewerage systems may not only be used as a buffer, but also be included in the central control, from the viewpoint of “together through one pipe” in the water chain. That is why it is so valuable that the municipality of West Betuwe actively participates in the pilot.”
Jos Brok: “If the pilot is successful in both the steady incoming flow and effective buffering, it will generate support. Then we could discuss how to best organise maintenance and management together and optimise it through central control.”
Innovation in Practice
According to André de Keijzer, the collaboration is going well: “Royal HaskoningDHV has a lot of knowledge, is close to the market, and can provide us with good support in our digital transformation.” Melchior Schenk stresses that it works the other way too: “It is essential for us to work with Rivierenland Water Authority as our ‘launching customer’. This is how our innovations can prove themselves in practice — 140 years of knowledge in the domain linked to software development and data science.”
The pilot in Haaften will run until the end of the year and therefore spans several seasons. After that, the water authority will decide on scaling-up in their work area. If the water authority opts for integral central control, then it will be the first on this scale in the Netherlands.