When a water engineer sets out to design a wastewater treatment plant, they are faced with many considerations. Some of these considerations conflict with each other – addressing one may make the outcome less desirable from another’s point of view.
Some of the things the engineer must consider are:
- Volume of water to be treated.
- Effluent quality requirements.
- What will change in the future?
- Site restrictions – available area, elevations.
- Environmental conditions – temperature, rain, snow, wind.
Teams of engineers of several disciplines can take weeks or months to design a plant with traditional methods. With very few exceptions, by the time a community faces the necessity of wastewater treatment, the need for a plant is urgent. The time pressure on the engineers is tremendous.
Transcend Water’s expert engineers turned computer programmers have developed a SaaS app called the Transcend Design Generator that can work through this labyrinth and turn out a preliminary design in as little as 8 hours.
Treatment Process Selection – More Time!
The types of processes most commonly used to treat wastewater are:
- Conventional activated sludge (AS, CAS)
- Membrane bioreactor (MBR)
- Moving bed biofilm reactor ( MBBR)
- Integrated fixed film activated sludge (MBBR IFAS, IFAS)
- Sequencing batch reactor (SBR)
The cleanest effluent comes from the MBR option. However, that choice will use the most energy. Other options are less expensive to operate but produce effluent that may not meet the quality requirements at some sites. Construction costs and space requirements vary with the process choice.
Often, a client, seeing the trade-offs involved in selecting one type of process over another, will want to consider two or more of these options.
Engineers undertaking a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) design with traditional manual calculations can take several weeks or months to create one design. While some of that work may be reusable in creating a second or third option, more options add significantly to the required time. The client must weigh the value of more choices against the additional delay in getting the plant built.
The Transcend Design Generator (TDG) to the Rescue!
At Transcend Water, their team of engineers representing many disciplines (hydraulic, chemical, civil, mechanical, etc.) has created a computerized solution called the Transcend Design Generator. This revolutionary SaaS application enables wastewater treatment plant designers to generate preliminary process and plant designs in as little as 8 hours – a tiny fraction of what the manual process requires. Does the client want more options? No problem – very little delay in getting construction underway!
Using the TDG is similar to using an Excel spreadsheet to make a complex financial calculation. You input basic data, and the spreadsheet gives you solid decision-making information in a fraction of the time you’d spend doing the manual calculations.
A caveat – this is a wonderful tool…in the right hands. It’s important to put it in the hands of experienced water engineers who understand what it does and capitalize on the time it saves them. Give it to an accountant who knows little about wastewater treatment plants, though, and they could not produce a useful design. In the example above, an accountant using the spreadsheet without understanding its mechanisms could produce disastrous results.
Automation is Critical to Efficient Design and Operation
We’ve already outlined how the TDG automates much of the design process.
For efficient wastewater management, automation should continue into the plant operation. The effectiveness and efficiency of the plant’s processes depend on automation. Many wastewater treatment plants operate where the influent comes from household sewage discharge. If you consider your daily household routines, which likely mirror others, you’ll see the cyclic nature of the feed to the plant. By using modern sensors and analysis, plant operators can adjust treatments to keep the effluent quality consistent.
To summarize, wastewater treatment plant design has been a laborious and time-consuming task by experienced water engineers. The engineers at Transcend Water have created the Transcend Design Generator to reduce much of the tedium and time engineers must invest in a project when they design it manually.
Transcend leads the wastewater treatment design industry. Learn more about how they can help you with your design. Check out their website, where you can see more of what they offer and contact them to discuss your project with their experts.