Water treatment analytics: A road map to greater efficiency

  • Gaining optimum control over an entire facility requires multiple levels of analytic instrumentation and software systems working in concert. At the most basic levels, it involves analyzing the chemistry of source water entering a plant and effluent leaving it. At higher levels, it means applying discrete measurements taken from multiple in-line instruments and analyzers to drive treatment processes for more cost-effective performance. At the highest levels, chemical water treatment extends to managing not only the process flow of a facility, but also asset maintenance and management.
    Instrumentation. Balancing chemical compositions and reactions in the water flow depends upon accurate readings from a variety of measurement and analysis instruments (e.g., flow meters, turbidity analyzers, pH analyzers, dissolved oxygen [DO] sensors, etc.). Whenever possible, choose designs that maintain tight tolerances, offer robust design to withstand harsh water conditions, provide reliable readings in real time, and interface well with higher-level control systems.
    Asset Optimization. Producing the best possible outcome from a treatment process involves exploiting the accurate, real-time data provided by in-line instrumentation. Look for system solutions that offer maximum flexibility for the nature of the process, the work environment, and the people who need to monitor and interact with it.
    Asset Management. Once control systems are fine-tuned to optimize process efficiency, it pays to focus attention on higher-level analytics to derive maximum value from plant infrastructure. This means monitoring and managing equipment for long, trouble-free performance life, a high return on investment (ROI), and lowest total cost of ownership (TCO).
    Target Essential Analytic And Control Goals
    Varying source water profiles — in terms of total organic carbon (TOC), pH, turbidity, etc. — provide different water treatment challenges. Whatever the water chemistry being measured or the sensing technology used, solutions that provide real-time in-situ sampling and share data automatically with plant control systems provide tangible benefits:
    Speed Of Response. Choosing instrumentation that provides the quickest access to data that defines process flow conditions and enables the quickest decision-making for maximum efficiency is the first step to cost efficiency.
    Continuous Regulatory Compliance. Knowing the composition of source water and treated water is critical wherever water chemistry adjustments are needed to meet compliance guidelines, avoid penalties for noncompliance, or simply provide the best looking, best tasting water quality practical.
    Efficient And Effective Energy And Chemical Use. Even with the best instrumentation providing the most accurate, up-to-the-minute readings, waiting to identify and react to real-world conditions after the fact can let some opportunities for efficiency slip through the cracks. Enterprise software for distributed control and asset management can react to the slightest changes in water chemistries, as well as project future trends in equipment life, to guide optimal decision-making for overall best control and operating efficiency.