Major water authority takes digital twin approach

A regional water authority in the Netherlands is taking a digital twin approach to improve the efficiency of its 17 wastewater treatment plants and 149 sewage pumping stations.

The Waterschapsbedrijf Limburg (WBL) is one of the 21 Dutch regional water authorities and has engaged the digital arm of civil engineer Royal HaskoningDHV to advise it on the digitalisation of its operations. This “will enable WBL to make better decisions, take appropriate action more quickly, ensure that it continuously gets the most value out of its wastewater infrastructure, and optimise the cost efficiency of its operational management,” according to Royal HaskoningDHV Digital.

The digitalisation will consist of two key parts: first the development and implementation of a big data platform in a Microsoft Azure environment that will collect data from the source systems at WBL; and second, the implementation of an Aquasuite machine learning app on the platform.

The Aquasite app will monitor the performance of all 149 WBL sewage pumping stations and will detect abnormal behaviour at an early stage. It will show the information to the process operators in WBL’s central control room in an “intuitive manner”.

By using machine learning for the entire system, its performance will improve continuously, it is claimed. It will also allow for more efficient management and anticipate the need for maintenance – the largest expense for water authorities.

The combination of the data platform and the Aquasuite app will be fully operational from September 2021.

WBL and Royal HaskoningDHV Digital plan to add other data science apps in the future.

Remy Sleijpen, WBL board member, said: “Over the years to come, WBL will take an essential next step in the development of data-driven business operations. By choosing Royal HaskoningDHV Digital, we have gained a partner with a valuable combination of expertise: in-depth knowledge of wastewater treatment management and digital know-how.”

Aris Witteborg, business developer, water intelligence at Royal HaskoningDHV Digital, said: “We are delighted to partner with WBL to realise its progressive vision over the coming years. It fits seamlessly with our vision of the role of digital twins in the future management of wastewater treatment. This is how we give substance to our motto: enhancing society together!”

Image: courtesy of Royal HaskoningDHV Digital

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