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ICA and me e A subjective review

Gustaf Olsson
Lund University, Lund, Sweden

article info abstract

Article history: ICA e instrumentation, control and automation e is a hidden technology. It is ubiquitous in
Received 10 September 2011 all industrial processes, including water and wastewater treatment systems. Still, as long
Received in revised form as everything works fine, it is not noted but when things go wrong it will be observed. ICA
22 December 2011 has now about forty years of history in water and wastewater systems and is well recog-
Accepted 27 December 2011 nized. One early attitude was that ICA will be a necessary burden to be added to a plant in
Available online 13 January 2012 order to correct for a poor design. However, the key reason for ICA is the fact that all
processes are subject to disturbances, externally via the wastewater influent, from the
Keywords: customers in a water supply system, or from operations in one unit process that will
Instrumentation propagate as a disturbance to another unit within a plant.
Sensors This paper is an attempt to describe the development of ICA in water and wastewater
Control systems. Most of it is based on personal experiences with all their limitations. No single
Automation paper can fairly describe the development that is documented in thousands of research
Monitoring papers, practiced by so many operators and process engineers and implemented in so
Operation many treatment systems. Still, the hope is that the paper can give a flavour of the most
Water important ingredients of this fascinating development.
Wastewater ª 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1586
2. The early years . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1588
2.1. The first ICA conference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1588
2.2. Pioneering control and automation projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1589
2.3. Understanding the dissolved oxygen dynamics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1590
2.4. Early computer control experiences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1592
3. Subsequent ICA conferences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1593
4. Sensors and actuators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1596
4.1. On-line sensors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1596
4.2. Respirometry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1597
4.3. Actuators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1598
5. Modelling efforts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1599
5.1. Activated sludge reactor models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1599
5.2. Clarifier and settler dynamical models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1600

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1586 w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4

5.3. Numerical solutions of the clarifier and settler dynamics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1601

5.4. Modelling uncertainty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1601
6. Data analysis and monitoring in wastewater systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1602
6.1. Data acquisition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1602
6.2. On-line parameter estimation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1602
6.2.1. Estimation of the clarifier behaviour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1603
6.2.2. Estimating nitrate concentration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1603
6.2.3. Using soft sensors for sensor diagnosis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1603
6.3. Monitoring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1603
6.4. Knowledge-based systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1604
7. Leakage detection and localisation in water distribution systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1604
8. Process control in wastewater treatment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1605
8.1. DO control revisited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1605
8.2. Control of unit processes in activated sludge systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1606
8.2.1. Nitrogen removal control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1606
8.2.2. Nitrate recirculation control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1606
8.2.3. Return sludge control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1606
8.2.4. External carbon dosage rate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1607
8.2.5. Chemical dosage control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1607
8.3. Microbial population optimisation as a result of control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1607
8.4. Control of anaerobic digesters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1608
8.5. Other control strategies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1609
8.5.1. Hedging point strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1609
8.5.2. Controlling extreme events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1609
8.5.3. Fuzzy control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1609
9. Benchmarking control systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1609
10. Control of water supply systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1610
11. Plant-wide control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1611
12. Driving forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1614
12.1. Technical driving forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1614
12.2. Regulatory driving forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1615
12.3. The human factor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1615
13. People I met and some lessons I learned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1616
14. The future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1616
Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1617
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1618

1. Introduction interpreted: signal patterns must be analyzed and various

signals can be combined and compared to expected behav-
Instrumentation, control and automation (ICA) is a hidden iour. This can form the basis for some action. ICA is not one
technology. It is not noticed as long as it works. Still it is large black box in a control room without any people. The
becoming ubiquitous in most water systems. ICA was recog- ideal ICA system contains:
nized already in the early 1970s by IWA (International Water
Association) and its predecessors IAWPRC (International  A quality team of people who feel a deep sense of ownership
Association on Water Pollution Research and Control) and of the system and who are committed to the continuous
IAWQ (International Association on Water Quality) as an improvement ethics;
important technology to improve operation in both water and  An instrumentation system that gathers adequate process
wastewater operations and to satisfy both quality of the variable information;
effluent and efficiency of the operation. Two key technical-  A monitoring system to gather data, process and display
driving forces made this possible: the development of process the data, detect and isolate measurement faults or
computers and of on-line instrumentation. Today ICA is process abnormal situations, assist in diagnosis and
certainly much more established and almost every water and advice, and finally simulate the consequences of opera-
wastewater treatment plant is supplied with a computer tional adjustments. Proper data acquisition and reporting
control system. is crucial;
ICA includes all the information that is generated and used  A control system to meet the goals of the operation. This is
in a system. With today’s computer technology and instru- implemented both locally within each unit process and as
mentation we take it for granted to get a lot of data. However, co-ordination of the various unit processes within the
data rich is not the same as information rich. Data has to be plant.
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The need for ICA can be motivated in many different ways. Disturbances caused by leakages or water quality distur-
“The effluent water looks fine and satisfies the regulator”. But bances have to be detected and located, and actions have to be
how good is it? Will it meet the regulations and the scrutiny of taken.
tomorrow? Can we trim the operating costs? Will the plant We often describe control and automation in three major
handle the inevitable load increases? How big a load will it levels:
take before more tank volume is needed? Effluent standards
will get tighter. Already the regulations in some countries  Keep the plant running;
must be met on the basis of spot checks, not monthly aver-  Satisfy the effluent requirements;
ages. Failure to comply will cost dearly. Recurrent budgets are  Maximize the efficiency.
getting tighter and will get even tighter.
Both drinking water and wastewater systems need control, On the primary level of plant operation, the equipment, we
not only to guarantee the quality of the water. Efficiency and nowadays take control for granted. Levels, flow rates, pres-
energy costs are becoming increasingly important with rising sures and temperatures are mostly controlled automatically
energy prices. The water and energy interdependence is more via pumps, compressors and valves. These controls will keep
and more recognized. Water lost by leakages in a water the plant running. At this level there are standardized control
distribution system is an energy loss. All of this motivates loops that are common in any process industry. Automation
more on-line monitoring and control. vendors usually have sufficient knowledge to install success-
Nitrous oxide (N2O) contributes to the global greenhouse ful operation to keep the plant running.
effect by about 6%. The N2O is around 300 times more efficient On the next level there are many concentration control
to absorb heat compared to CO2. The atmosphere contains loops. In an activated sludge plant automatic control of dis-
only a small amount of the gas, but it will stay there for about solved oxygen (DO), sludge age, return sludge and other
150 years. Since N2O can be produced in nitrification and concentrations are proven methodologies. In most plants this
denitrification processes it is of great interest to control the level of control is successful. It helps to maintain the effluent
GHG emission in activated sludge operations. Recent studies quality; it allows unmanned operation during nights and
have shown that dynamic conditions can cause increased N2O weekends and saves energy and other operational costs.
emission (Kampschreur et al., 2008). However, already at this second level there are many control
All processes can be controlled to perform better. It is the systems that fail. The reason is not that the control is difficult
process knowledge, the sensor technology and the way the or that the sensors are not sufficiently robust. The simple
plants have been designed and built that may limit what can reason is that many implementers do not have sufficient
be achieved today. We also know that wastewater processes knowledge of the process dynamics or do not efficiently
have some unique features compared to other process communicate their knowledge to colleagues. Sensors are
industries: the flow rates, the disturbances, the small located at wrong positions, data analysis is not adequate,
concentrations, the organisms, the separation, and the fact sampling frequencies are often unrealistic (mostly too fast), or
that all the “raw material” has to be accepted and treated. The the controller settings are not adequate.
critical issues are the attitudes and incentives. Of course On-line nutrient sensors are becoming common and
the attitudes often depend on the incentives. Today we have affordable. This makes it possible to control the dissolved
the incentives to invest in ICA and we can use many of the oxygen with a variable setpoint, depending on the ammonia
results from other process industries that introduced ICA removal. The dosage of chemicals can be based on on-line
earlier. phosphate measurements and the recirculation of the
The motivation for all control is the presence of distur- nitrate rich water in pre-denitrification plants can be based on
bances. The load to a wastewater treatment plant is hardly nitrate measurements in the anoxic reactor. Most often the
ever constant. The flow rate, the concentrations and the payback time for the more costly instruments is amazingly
composition of the influent wastewater are changing all the short. Energy can be saved and the dosage of chemicals can be
time. In many cases there is an order of magnitude difference minimized. Other sensors, like pH and gas flow rate, make it
between the lowest and the highest load during the day. Many possible to run an anaerobic digester with higher throughput
disturbances are created internally, within the plant, as while still keeping the operation safe.
a result of the operation. Several recycle flows can cause To maximize the efficiency also means that we can no
major operational problems unless they are carefully longer operate each unit process in isolation. Instead a plant-
controlled, such as the return sludge flow rate, nitrate recir- wide or a system-wide approach is in demand. The sludge
culation, digester supernatants, or backwash filter flows. With production in the liquid train of an activated sludge system has
all these disturbances it is impossible to operate any plant to be related to the desired sludge level in the anaerobic
with constant settings of pumps, compressors, valves and digestion to produce biogas. The operation of the sewer has to
other actuators. relate to the capacity of the wastewater treatment system. The
Drinking water systems are also subject to disturbances. electrical energy consumption in the plant has to be minimized
The systems are driven by the customer demands and the and this requires a plant-wide perspective. A wastewater
water production has to track the consumer behaviour. The treatment plant can serve as a net energy producer using the
plant can usually only level the daily consumption patterns. In energy from biogas and effluent heat content. It is obvious that
a distribution system the pressure has to be controlled. With wastewater treatment plant operation is complex. What
a variable pressure control energy can be saved and the makes it increasingly complex is the mentioned requirements
occurrence of leakages can become less frequent. of efficient operation all around the clock. The plant has to
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consistently meet disturbances, making maximum use of considered straightforward in terms of reactors and were
available volumes, and all the time satisfy the requirement of regarded as easily instrumented for process control.
the effluent quality. To give a consistent and clear order to Automation had been applied in commercial biological
control goals is a truly multi-criteria decision problem and is production systems, such as beer or antibiotic manufacturing,
considered to be the overall challenge of ICA. but not in wastewater treatment. The theoretical background
Also for a drinking water plant the control has to be plant- for wastewater treatment operations was weaker, there was
wide so that high efficiency is obtained. All water that is a limited availability of proper instruments for a hostile
produced has to meet the quality criteria. There is a tight environment, and the educational level of the operations
coupling between the unit processes which forces the control personnel was not as good as today. The inherent difficulties
to take the couplings into consideration. in biological treatment processes included the constantly
I have to admit that I accepted the invitation to write about varying and unpredictable nature of the raw wastewater feed
“ICA and me” with mixed feelings. On one hand I was excited and the need to handle vast quantities of water while trying to
to describe my own personal journey to understand and utilize its 0.03e0.06% of organic matter as substrate for
control urban water and wastewater systems and to describe a continuous biological reaction.
my experiences. On the other hand I was fearful: to include
“me” in the title is pretentious. So many gifted researchers 2.1. The first ICA conference
and other professionals have made great impact on the ICA
development. How can I possibly add anything of interest and A conference in Vienna in 1971 on “Design-Operation Inter-
be fair to all significant contributions? Just from the ten ICA actions for Large Wastewater Treatment Plants” arranged by
conferences arranged by IWA around 800 papers have been IAWPR (The International Association on Water Pollution
published. This article is a record of a personal journey that Research, the predecessor of IAWPRC, IAWQ and IWA)
started in 1972 and is still going on. It is not a conventional became an important event to put the attention to ICA. Some
state-of-the-art paper on ICA. Rather it reflects personal operations people realised that designers had been working
discoveries, disappointments, encouraging developments and on wastewater treatment plant automation without complete
personal hopes. Many applications of ICA have not been awareness of what had been going on elsewhere. The lively
described satisfactorily and have been overlooked due to the discussion, which developed at the conference, clearly indi-
subjective perspective. A more detailed description of the ICA cated that the ICA topics were of such widespread and current
area is found in the textbook Olsson and Newell (1999) and in interest that a subsequent conference should be devoted
the state-of-the-art report Olsson et al. (2005). exclusively to them.
I will narrate the early years of ICA from my own experi- The first instrumentation and control conference under
ences. Most of them are from the wastewater treatment areas the sponsorship of IAWPR was held in London in 1973 thanks
but also water distribution problems, in particular leakage to the pioneering efforts by the organisers Carmen Guarino
detection and localisation. The ICA conferences organized by (City of Philadelphia, USA), Tony Drake (Greater London
IWA and its predecessors give quite a good reflection of the Council, UK), John F. Andrews (Clemson Univ., USA) and Ron
progress in ICA over the years, Sec. 2-3. Overviews of sensors Briggs (Water Pollution Research Laboratory, UK). This was my
and actuators (Sec. 4), modelling for control (Sec. 5), data first ICA conference, and it has been followed by another nine
analysis and monitoring (Sec. 6) are presented. Leakage conferences arranged within IWA and its predecessors, every
detection in water distribution is another application of fourth year until 2009.
monitoring, described in Sec. 7. Various unit process control I started my personal journey as a nuclear engineer in the
aspects in wastewater treatment are reviewed in Sec. 8 and Swedish power industry and then turned into a control engi-
ways to test monitoring and control systems via bench- neer in the 1960s. The transformation into a water engineer
marking are discussed in Sec. 9. Controlling drinking water was initiated in 1972. Dr. Karl Eklund, the first PhD student
systems is briefly described in Sec. 10, and in Sec. 11 the from our Department of Automatic Control, Lund University
concepts of system-wide or plant-wide control are outlined. had joined the Axel Johnson Institute for Industrial Research
Over the years I have experienced the importance of driving in Sweden. He is the one that asked me the crucial question in
forces and incentives, Sec. 12. Maybe most important, I have 1972: “It seems to me that all wastewater treatment plants are
met some truly dedicated people that became role models, designed from steady-state principles. However, the systems
Sec. 13. So, what is the future? I will speculate in Sec. 14. never seem to be in steady state. Isn’t there a role for auto-
matic control?” I promised to initiate a feasibility study. After
that I was caught by wastewater treatment control. As
2. The early years expressed at the London conference: “We accept that vari-
ability is of great importance, but being faced with the task of
In the early 1970s the control of biological systems was expressing its effect on performance had to conclude that at
a matter of art rather than science and the fundamental the present time there are no data on which to assess its
kinetics upon which automation systems must be based was effects”. This looked as a perfect challenge for a control
just becoming apparent. This naturally brought up the ques- engineer. Disturbances and dynamical changes motivate the
tions of “detectors” or instruments, control methods, oper- whole existence of control theory! At that time, however, it
ating equipment and computer programs. Chemical was difficult to predict my life-long engagement in the water
processes, on the other hand, were not subject to the area. The control challenges and problems were summarized
supposed vagaries of the biological processes. They were in two early reports (Olsson et al., 1973; Olsson, 1974) and they
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formed the basis for our work for the next decade on maximum load conditions. This leaves plenty of space for
controlling wastewater treatment systems. optimization. Sewer control was applied in Cleveland in the
The London 1973 conference attracted 225 people and 64 early 1970s (Kukudis, 1973). During dry periods flow equal-
papers were presented. At the conference several compu- ization was used. During storm periods the system was
terised systems from large city plants e such as Atlanta, designed to primarily capture and treat the first 20 min of flow
Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Paris and Philadelphia e were during the storm period. This is what we today call the first
presented. Typically the computer systems performed data flush, having the highest concentrations of pollutants. Any
acquisition but hardly any closed loop plant control. necessary bypassing after the first period would be of diluted
Computer implementations of PID-controllers for some lower effluent.
level controls were demonstrated. An investigation of some 50 In terms of automation of biological processes it was
municipal wastewater treatment plants in the USA revealed obvious that most of the work had to be done to develop
only a few closed loops and these were usually low-level a better process understanding, i.e. knowing the kinetics
control, often called the PLC level control. Few papers better and to obtain better on-line sensors. It was obvious in
addressed research issues on ICA and most of the control the early 1970s that both of these developments had to come
systems presented had been designed on an empirical basis. from the wastewater industry itself. The alternatives were
Instrumentation was a key issue. The sensors offered for either that instrument and automation experts should learn
wastewater control appeared to be those developed for other wastewater treatment or that the wastewater professionals
industries and were not really suitable for the usually hostile would learn automation theory and instrumentation
conditions of wastewater processing. Instrumentation had development.
been compared in 8 European countries. Germany appeared to
be the most advanced in the instrumentation field, as applied 2.2. Pioneering control and automation projects
to the monitoring of effluent and river waters. Several authors
addressed dissolved oxygen (DO) control and the potential In 1970s it was not apparent what was meant by automation.
energy savings were well recognised. Ron Briggs (1973) had The closest approach to complete automation was considered
demonstrated DO control in a nitrifying plant at the Rye to be in the spacecrafts, where there had to be absolute reli-
Meads sewage works, and Chuck Wells and Dave Stepner had ability and therefore 100% duplication for each critical oper-
applied DO control in the city plant of Palo Alto, California ational part. (The first lunar landing had taken place in 1969.
(Petersack and Stepner, 1973). John Andrews presented some The computer was equipped with 64 kbytes of core memory
control challenges for activated sludge systems and demon- and no disk. About 1000 man-years had been invested in the
strated simulation results. The four people mentioned here real time software to use the 64 kbytes of the Apollo computer.
have given the author a lot of inspiration over the years. Still the autopilot for landing on the moon did not work as
In many countries there was a real shortage of qualified expected and the final control had to be taken over by the
operators. With new regulations this scarcity was to be even pilots.) It was quickly realized that cost alone prohibited
larger. The solution to the problem was seen in automation. complete automation for earth-bound processes. Process
However, this was looked at as a real threat from many control steps had to be speeded up by installing computers
workers and unions and the fear for unemployment was a real that could perform control and modelling. A computer could
obstacle for automation during the 1970s. We got first hand also provide an expandable platform capable of computer
experiences of this fear, which is commented in Sec. 2.4. Still, control of the biological processes when the necessary kinetic
phasing out unskilled labour was considered the only solution theory and sensors were available. It should be noted that
to achieve optimum efficiency of the operation. Later, in automation was not expected to save manpower but to
London 1977, L. H. Thompson, UK, remarked: “it is likely that improve operational reliability and facility capacity. The term
in many cases the justification for an automated system will direct digital control (DDC) had been defined as a feedback
not lie in a saving in staff, but in a quicker and more reliable system where all the controllers were implemented in a time-
response to variable operational circumstances”. The later ICA shared manner in a digital computer.
development has proven this statement to be correct. One example was the Hyperion Plant in Southern Cal-
A statement by Kukudis (1973) at the 1973 London confer- ifornia. A lot of initiatives were taken from 1968 to 1973 in
ence reflects the potential for control: “Even if we had the order to plan for process automation. The kinetics of the
most sophisticated, automated plant in existence, it still activated sludge process was studied and compared with
would not be able to operate at maximum efficiency, because computer models. A steady-state model was presented by
the designs of wastewater treatment plants are based on Smith and Eilers (1969) and Bargman and Borgerding (1973). It
uniform combined sewer flow with consideration for periodic was planned to implement DDC for the activated sludge solids
intensity due to storm flow or periodic lows during dry retention time, for the airflow, for the solids feed in the
weather spells or hours of least demand. So, much of the time anaerobic digester and for the digested withdrawal (Bargman
the flow into the plant is either above or below the maximum et al., 1973).
efficiency level.” Control can use the available but often un- Bayley and Ayling (1973) had also realized that denitrifi-
used capacities. This motivated an absolute need for control cation could save energy. In their activated sludge operation
of flow in the sewers. “We must speak of automation in the about one-third of the oxygen required was used for oxidizing
entire system e the network of sewers and the plants”. This ammonium nitrogen to nitrate. The authors found that if
was stated almost four decades ago! Still today we have to a proportion of this oxidized nitrogen could be employed as an
implement better plant-wide control and we design for oxygen source for oxidizing organic material it should be
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possible to reduce the “external” aeration requirements at all supplied by fine bubble diffusers uniformly along the reactors.
times. In 1973 it was not necessary to control the discharge of For our experiments real time data could be stored in the
oxidized nitrogen to the surface waters in the British Isles. computer and saved on punched paper tape for later analysis
Consequently denitrification was realized just to save energy. on our Digital Equipment PDP 15/35 Computer at the Automatic
Control Department at Lund University.
2.3. Understanding the dissolved oxygen dynamics We performed a large number of process identification
experiments in Käppala from late 1973 until mid 1975. The
The first attempt in the UK to measure DO continuously was purpose of the identification experiments was to directly
made by Briggs et al. (1954) using a semi-continuous color- identify the DO dynamics from experiments. The fact that the
imeter in conjunction with the Winkler method. This was DO dynamics is much faster than the hydraulics and the
later replaced by the dropping-mercury electrode, Briggs et al. substrate utilization made it possible to isolate it in its own
(1957). By the early 1970s the use of on-line DO sensors was time scale. By purposefully disturbing the airflow rate to the
well established in many wastewater treatment plants. It was aerated reactor the DO concentration variations in various
realized early that DO control would be profitable both for the locations along the reactor were recorded. The influent water
biological activity and for the efficiency of the plant. DO flow rate was manipulated by redirecting the flow to other
sensors for feedback control were tried already in pilot scale in parallel basins and the return sludge flow rate was purpose-
1967 (Briggs et al., 1967) and subsequent full scale experiments fully manipulated to create disturbances in the DO concen-
were carried out at Rye Meads Sewage Works (Briggs, 1973). trations. The three manipulated variables were changed
Based on the Rye Meads experiences DO control was imple- independently of each other. The DO concentration y(t) was
mented at the City of Oxford Sewage Works (Meredith, 1973). assumed to be related to the airflow u1(t), the influent water
In France, Paul Brouzes had demonstrated DO control flow rate u2(t) and the return sludge flow rate u3(t) like
(Brouzes, 1969) and other installations were made in the USA
(Petersack and Stepner, 1973; Roesler, 1974). At the Reno X
yðtÞ ¼ a1 yðt  DtÞ  .  an yðt  n$DtÞ þ ðbi1 ui ðt  DtÞ þ .
WWTP in Nevada, USA, DO control had been applied since i¼1
1966. þ ðbin ui ðt  n$DtÞ þ lðeðtÞ þ c1 eðt  DtÞ þ .
Significant energy savings were reported. It is worth
þ cn eðt  n$DtÞÞ
mentioning that cascade control of the DO was implemented,
e.g. at the Wantagh Treatment Plant, Nassau County, Long The sampling time Dt has to be chosen carefully and needs
Island, New York (Beckman, 1973). The DO was measured in to be sufficiently small so that all relevant dynamical
each aeration tank and fed to the master controller. The phenomena can be recorded. Still it has to be sufficiently large
output of the DO controller was fed as a setpoint value to the so that all the data can be stored. It should be remembered
airflow controller of the tank. Minimum and maximum limits that the typical primary memory size was 16 kbytes. The
of the airflow rate were given. The airflow to each tank was variable e is a stochastic variable that is normally distributed
then summarized by the central processor and the informa- with the standard deviation 1. It is independent in the sense
tion was used in the blower control system. that the amplitude of e(t) is independent of e at other times.
There was a certain suspicion of using the dissolved The parameter l is a scaling of the amplitude. The parameters
oxygen concentration for the control design. The reason was ak, bik, l and ck were identified with the Maximum Likelihood
that “too often in the design of automation systems for method. Different model orders n were tried out and the final
wastewater biological processes there has been a tendency to decision of model order was based on the Fischer Information
measure parameters that instrument manufacturers have Index or the Akaike index (Åström and Eykhoff, 1971; Ljung,
existing detectors for rather than parameters basic to the 1987) as well as the parameter accuracy that was estimated
kinetics of the process itself” (Bargman et al., 1973). One from the Fischer information matrix. We used an interactive
example given was the DO. The reasoning was that “if the software package for process identification, called IDPAC,
organisms are not alive and/or in insufficient numbers an which had been developed under the leadership of Karl J.
activated sludge tank can be saturated with DO and show little Åström, Department of Automatic Control, Lund University.
or no BOD (biochemical oxygen demand) or COD (chemical IDPAC had a major influence on several identification projects
oxygen demand) reduction”. Instead the respiration of the and can be considered the role model of the Matlab System
active organisms would be a direct index of the process Identification Toolbox, later developed by Lennart Ljung. In
condition. 1973 he was a PhD student at the Department.
Soon after the inspiration from the 1973 London conference Quite soon it became obvious that only low-order
we started experiments at a large Swedish wastewater treat- dynamics could be found from experiments and the most
ment plant, the Käppala plant. The plant had been completed reliable models were found to be of first order (n ¼ 1). The time
in 1969 and now served 300,000e400,000 people in the northern constant of the air-to-DO dynamics was estimated to be
suburbs of Stockholm. This was one of the first plants to install between 15 and 30 min, depending on the location of the DO
a computer system (Siemens) for on-line data acquisition. This sensor along the reactor. The identified model was compared
contributed to the fact that the 1977 ICA conference in London to the model of the DO concentration in a complete mix basin,
reconvened in Stockholm. The plant is built completely based on first principles,
underground. The average dry weather flow was 1.3 m3/s. The
dsO Q    
activated sludge plant was designed as six parallel trains, each ¼ sO;in  ð1 þ rÞsO þ KL a$ ssat
O  sO þ rO
dt V
tank having a volume of 6000 m3 and a length of 100 m. Air was
w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4 1591

where sO is the DO concentration and the indices in and sat

denote the influent flow and saturation, respectively. Q is the
wastewater flow rate, r the return sludge flow rate as a frac-
tion of Q, V the volume, KLa the oxygen transfer rate, and rO the
oxygen uptake rate (having a negative value). Typically it was
assumed that KLa was proportional to the airflow rate. The
model was found to be consistent with the static oxygen
transfer calculations. The dynamics from the influent flow
rate and from the return sludge flow rate were also limited to
first order, and could be explained by physical reasoning and
first principle modelling. Obviously the influence from the
airflow was dominating over other inputs.
A couple of phenomena were obvious. The gain from
airflow to the DO concentration was quite different depending
on the DO sensor location. Obviously this could be explained
by different airflow rates along the basin. The reason was
either clogging of the diffusers (ceramic) or simply too little
airflow through the corresponding airflow valve. Another Fig. 1 e The DO profile in a plug-flow reactor for carbon
strange phenomenon appeared when a time constant of only removal with uniform airflow distribution. The upper
some 10 s was discovered. Still in 1974 we did not have a good figure shows the DO profile (mg/l) for different airflows.
understanding of the DO and the DO probe dynamics. It took The lower figure depicts the corresponding carbon
some time to explain this mystifying behaviour, but it was concentration (mgCOD/l) decrease along the plug-flow
discovered that the DO sensor membrane was broken, so reactor.
gaseous oxygen penetrated the sensor. This could not be
discovered from static measurements, only from dynamical
changes. Therefore any discovery of a fast time constant ensure that the DO profile should level off at some desired
(indicating an unexpected high oxygen transfer rate) during location. Too early meant that too much air was used, too late
dynamical changes was a sign of an erroneous sensor. This that the load was too high, requiring more air. In other words,
phenomenon is described in Chapter 12.3 of Olsson and in order to find out the slope of the profile towards the end we
Newell (1999). Later on we looked at other tests of the DO would require either two different DO probes or sample mixed
probe condition (Spanjers and Olsson, 1992). The DO probe liquor at two locations and analyze in the same probe. This
was repeatedly subject to a step change of the oxygen was discussed in detail in Olsson and Andrews (1978).
concentration with a time interval of 15e30 s. At each step the An alternative DO control method was tried, recognizing
time constant of the probe response was estimated and this that we had to accept that the DO concentration had the
proved to be a useful indicator of a fouling probe membrane. characteristic profile since independent air supply to the
At the time of the experiments in the mid 1970s we came various zones was uncommon. As Fig. 1 demonstrates the DO
across several plug-flow systems. The air distribution along profile has its maximum slope when the reaction has gone to
the reactor could only be controlled manually, and this was completion and the COD concentration is approaching zero.
considered a very difficult task. Any change of a valve opening For a high airflow rate the DO slope towards the outlet is small.
along the reactor would immediately result in a new airflow This indicates that the airflow rate can be decreased until the
distribution that was not necessarily the desired one. Typi- slope has increased above a certain value. On the other hand,
cally the oxygen uptake rate is high towards the head end of if the airflow is too small, then the profile would never rise
the reactor and small close to the outlet of the reactor. As towards the outlet. In the implementation two DO concen-
a result the DO concentration showed a typical profile going trations were measured, one close to the reactor outlet and
from very low values, rising steeply towards the second half of the other at a location around 80% along the reactor. The
the reactor and levelling off at high levels of 5e8 mg/l towards distance between the sensors was chosen so that the
the outlet, as depicted in Fig. 1. concentration difference could be calculated with reasonable
With such a profile, how to determine the DO setpoint? The accuracy. If the difference was small then the (total) airflow
textbooks recommended around 2e3 mg/l but this had no was decreased until the difference became sufficiently large.
relevance for our DO control in the plug-flow reactor. Other To ensure an adequate aeration and mixing a minimum
performance measures had to be found. A static analysis of airflow was defined. Furthermore, if the airflow was far too
the sensitivity of the DO concentration to changes in airflow low, then the DO profile would never rise towards the outlet.
was made and it was found that the maximum sensitivity This small slope would falsely indicate a high airflow. To avoid
took place in the region where the slope of the profile had its this misinterpretation the outlet DO concentration always had
maximum. This was also verified by the identification exper- to exceed a certain value.
iments (Olsson and Hansson, 1976a). There was a problem to use two sensors. They had to be
Experienced operators, notably Torpey (1948), had found by properly calibrated, since the difference between two
experience that the DO profile had to level off at around 75% of concentrations was calculated. Therefore another type of
the reactor length, indicating that the reaction had gone to implementation was made: to pump water from two locations
completion. It became apparent that the DO control should to a single sensor. Obviously such a transportation of water
1592 w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4

and the subsequent time delay could create significant errors for the foreseeable future. Data density has doubled approxi-
in the DO concentration, so a correction of the measurement mately every 18 months. The press called it “Moore’s Law” and
value had to be done. The results were presented at the 1977 the name has stuck. Most experts, including Moore himself,
ICA conference (Gillblad and Olsson, 1977). As you researchers expect Moore’s Law to hold for at least another two decades
we were proud to get the following comment from the (see Gordon E. Moore: Cramming more components onto
convenor C. H. Wells: “The paper . is the first presented here integrated circuits, Electronics, 19, 3, April 1965). For this period
attempting to effectively use the digital computer for the control of Moore would have predicted a capacity increase of
the actual process. He has developed a clever control system to 228 z 3 * 108! The same is true for disk memories. Are we
measure both the suspended solids and dissolved oxygen at 6 points taking the proper advantages of this revolution?
in the aerator. The control system is based on information available There was a lot of resistance to use computers for control
from existing instrumentation. He shows that this information along in the mid 1970s. The price was relatively high, and in order to
with knowledge of the process can provide a useful tool for the motivate such a high investment the value of the process to be
operator in controlling the process. This is an excellent first step in controlled had to be much higher. This in turn meant that the
attempting to regulate the performance of the activated sludge complexity was substantial. In other words, there were
process with a digital computer system.” several obstacles to overcome: instrumentation was expen-
Today it is well recognized that the problem of DO profiles sive, the process dynamics was not very well known, the
could be solved much better by independent air supply actuators had to be sufficiently flexible, the computer had to
systems to different zones of the aerated reactor. The DO be reliable, and adequate control theory had to be developed.
profile analysis, however, gave a lot of insight since it is During 1975 and 1976 we implemented DO control in the
a direct mirror of the oxygen uptake. Siemens computer at the Käppala treatment plant (Olsson and
The lack of understanding dynamics have lasted for a long Hansson, 1976b). It was performed with a PI controller in
time. A personal experience from the late 1990s can illustrate cascade with a proportional controller for the airflow rate.
this. We were looking at various control opportunities for However, when more regulators were to be implemented it
a mid-size municipal plant in America. The operator claimed was decided to get a mini computer Digital Equipment LSI 11
that the DO did not vary, so control would not be necessary. instead of re-programming the Siemens computer. This was
When I asked for measurement data, I got the reply that the actually the first LSI computer shipped to Sweden. The LSI
DO was measured manually at 15.00 o’clock every day and no computer was used during 1976 and 1977 to get further
variations were found. I humbly asked if the operator would experiences of DO control and the dynamics of the treatment
like to measure the DO every hour during a 24-h period. He plant. We had been warned that the signal quality from the
accepted and was very surprised to find out quite a substantial sensors was so low that the signals could not be used for
variation. control. This was proven to be wrong. Many cables had
probably been inadequate and some signal cables had been
2.4. Early computer control experiences placed close to power cables. Digital signal filtering was used
successfully to eliminate instrument and signal transmission
In 1973 a typical computer was the Digital Equipment Corpo- noise.
ration PDP8 with 28 kbytes of memory, serving almost 100 Maybe the most difficult obstacles were political and
analog inputs, some 200 digital outputs, and 15 analog psychological. The potential job loss would be a sensitive
outputs. The operator interface was usually a black/white CRT political issue. Phasing out “unskilled” labour would be very
(cathode ray tube) while paper tape was used as the software difficult. Still, increasing the professional skill of the operators
medium. There were also large control computers installed was crucial if an optimum efficiency was going to be obtained.
having around 2000 digital inputs, 600 digital outputs, 600 Operators at the plants were fearful of the computers, since
analog inputs and 40 analog outputs. It is worth mentioning they could take away the operator job and responsibility. The
the computer revolution that has taken place during the last plant managers did not always see the value of the computer.
40 years. The author bought a real time computer for the And, maybe the most difficult, the economic incentives were
Department of Automatic Control in 1970s with the price 1 not made clear.
SEK (z0.14 US$ or 0.11 V) per bit of primary memory. (Actu- In 1976 we cooperated with an industry to install a PDP 11-
ally, it was quite a difficult task to conquer the bureaucratic 04 computer for closed loop control of a mid-size activated
rules to buy a computer. It had been decided on a national sludge plant in Sweden and the reference installation was
level that one computing centre would be sufficient to serve made in early 1977. The goal of the computer control was
the University and no other computers would be allowed. We primarily to control the DO concentration and the return
managed to get around the rule by simply calling our sludge flow rate. A number of low-level control loops were
computer “a real time simulator”. It was equipped with A/D also implemented in the computer. A major goal of the
and D/A converters.) In 2011 we pay just around 19 SEK per computer installation was to get a better opportunity for
Gbyte, a price reduction of about 5 * 108. It is interesting to better process studies. Additionally, a simple alarm detection
compare with Moore’s law. (The observation made in 1965 by system was installed. It was a rule-based system, but the
Gordon Moore e co-founder of Intel e that the number of terminology of “knowledge-based” or “rule-based” were not
transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled known at the time, and the system was simply programmed
every year since the integrated circuit was invented. This was in real time Fortran (Gillblad and Olsson, 1977).
only four years after the first planar integrated circuit was Together with the computer installation a new measure-
discovered. Moore predicted that this trend would continue ment sampling system was developed. The idea was to use
w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4 1593

only one sensor and two suspended solids sensors, centrally  The design can not be based on only steady-state consid-
located. The motivation was to more accurately measure the erations. Dynamic behaviour has to be taken into account.
DO profile, as discussed in Sec. 2.3. Mixed liquor was pumped The obstacle in the 1970s was sufficient dynamic model
from six different parts of the aeration basin to the sensors, so knowledge.
that concentrations from various parts of the reactor would be  The need for integrated control of a wastewater treatment
monitored without having the calibration problems when plant and the sewer was recognized. Today this is imple-
measurements from several sensors would have been mented only in some locations.
compared. Each sample was about 20 l in order to ensure  Incentives for the operator and for the organization for
a representative sample. Several quick measurements were better control were discussed in the 1970s and are still
made of the sample and an average was calculated. In this crucial conditions for good control.
way the purpose was to use the shape of the DO profile as
a basis for the control action. The measurements were used to
calculate respiration rates by using the whole reactor as 3. Subsequent ICA conferences
a respirometer. The computer controlled the measurement
system and could partly compensate for the DO decrease of Starting with the London conference in 1973 there has been
each sample during the pumping. Still the measurement ten ICA conferences arranged by IWA and its predecessors. I
system was quite complex and was not further developed. have noted that I am the only individual who has attended all
Later on the idea of DO profile control could be replaced by the ten ICA conferences from 1973 until 2009. These meetings
better possibilities to individually control the various zones of offer quite a good picture of the ICA development.
the reactor. Following the 1973 London conference a workshop was
The DO control system worked as intended and the rule- held in Clemson, S.C., USA in September 1974, addressing
based system made adequate detections. The system could Research Needs for Automation of Wastewater Treatment Systems
also monitor when the alarm had been corrected and this was (Clemson, 1974). The workshop was sponsored by the USEPA
recorded in the computer. Still, several aspects of the project but appeared to be a landmark in the early ICA development
became a failure. The reason was that nobody had involved for wastewater treatment systems. John F. Andrews, Heinrich
the operators in the planning and design of the control. As O. Buhr and Thomas M. Keinath (later the IWA President) at
a result, the operators feared that they would lose their jobs the Clemson University organised the workshop. Many
and naturally did their best to make the system fail. Before the participants were invited from government regulatory and
computer installation there was a rule that if an alarm had research agencies, universities, operating engineers and
happened during odd hours the operators got a standard managers of large treatment systems, consulting engineering
bonus, based on a standard time, when the alarm was cor- firms and equipment manufacturers. Being a workshop,
rected. Now the computer kept track of this time, and mostly formal presentations were mixed with working groups on
the used time was much shorter than the standard time. Of various topics. Among the 104 participants 102 came from the
course, the operators did not like the system. Instead of USA and two from Europe, one being me. Without any doubt
reading the advice from the computer they simply turned off this meeting had a great influence on subsequent priorities of
the typewriter, thus eliminating the record of the time it had the ICA research.
taken to correct the situation after the alarm. William Rosenkranz, director at EPA, set up the tone of the
Still another problem was the lack of economic incentive. workshop, stating: “A treatment system should no longer be
We could readily calculate great savings by using closed loop considered as a marginal water pollution control facility, but
DO control. The problem was that the municipal treatment rather as a production facility for wastewater refining or
plant had no profit incentive. Therefore the argument that we renovation”. It was recognized that there was a lack of more
met was simply: “it is fine that you can save 20, 30 or even 40% fundamental knowledge concerning dynamic behaviour,
of our aeration costs. However, if we implement it, then we control strategies, component reliability, cost-benefit analysis
will simply get a correspondingly smaller budget for next year. of ICA and the effect of automation on design.
So, we would not gain anything.” In Sec. 2.3 we noted the development of the DO sensor. At
Many of the challenges of wastewater treatment control the time for the Clemson workshop a survey of some 50 plants
were formulated in the early 1970s: in the USA had been made and it was found that 12% of the
plants had automatic on-line DO control implemented.
 Dissolved oxygen control is important, both from a biolog- A number of research needs were identified. Some of these
ical and from an economic point of view. Still DO control is were:
not implemented in all plants. The importance of the
sampling time for DO control was well recognized. Still, this  Sensors: Development of efficient and dependable sensors.
is not a common knowledge today. Some of the key variables included flow rates, sludge
 The oxygen uptake along the reactor has to be taken into blanket level, settling velocity, respiration rate, suspended
consideration. It was realized that the DO concentration solids, short-term BOD, ammonia, nitrate and phosphorous;
should be controlled differently in the inlet and in the outlet  Instrument testing: A central location for gathering and
areas of the reactor. However, this was difficult to imple- dispensing information on instrumentation testing. Such
ment in the 1970s. a device “would be of considerable assistance”;
 The need for on-line instrumentation was obvious. Specific  Performance specifications should be developed for sensors
needs were formulated, as will be discussed in Sec. 3. and instrumentation as a guide to the user community;
1594 w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4

 Modelling: Development of dynamic mathematical models Below we will show a rough summary of the contributions
for individual processes, using latest data available. An from the ten ICA conferences. Obviously there is a great
important long-term goal was the incorporation of the number of ICA publications outside these conferences, but the
individual process models into an overall mathematical general trends give some interesting information. Fig. 2 shows
model for treatment plants; the representation from the various countries (represented by
 Control: Control strategies based on computer simulation the first author).
using mathematical models should be developed; Control
strategies should be evaluated in pilot scale to select the  USA and UK: The two first conferences in London were
most promising ones for future demonstration. These initiated by pioneering efforts from individuals and orga-
strategies should be demonstrated in full scale, including nizations in the USA and UK. Consequently these two
cost/benefit analysis; Control designs should be expanded to countries dominated the program. The participation from
include interrelationships between liquid and solids pro- the USA in the IWA (and its predecessors) ICA conferences
cessing, storm water and dry weather flow control and has decreased dramatically after 1977, except for the
treatment and eventually area-wide or system-wide Houston conference in 1985. Also the UK participation after
wastewater treatment. the 1997 conference in Brighton has dropped. The contri-
butions from the two countries have been reduced from 95%
Some of these visions have not yet become true, so there in 1973 to 3e4% at the last two conferences.
is still work to do! Professor John Andrews (1930e2011)  Canada presented the first ICA paper in 1985 and has been
recognized the need for education at all levels when he well represented since then.
noted: “A course in Process Dynamics and Control is  Japan not only had the country a great representation from
commonly found in most chemical engineering curricula. the early 1980s until the mid 1990s. Japanese industry made
We would be well advised to include a course in Dynamics very impressive contributions to the progress of instru-
and Control of Wastewater Treatment Systems in environ- mentation and control and were highly visible in the inter-
mental engineering curricula.” Today there are such cour- national conferences.
ses, but it has taken a long time to make John Andrews’  Asia outside Japan was noted very little until ICA (1990) in
vision come true. Kyoto. During the last ten years Korea has made significant

Fig. 2 e Participation at the ten IWA-ICA conferences from different countries (in percent).
w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4 1595

progress and the Asian papers contributed to around 20% in they have sufficient incentives to come. Academic people
2009. have several incentives to come. Publish or perish is the rule at
 Europe, excluding UK in 1973 only 2 papers were coming from most universities, so results have to be presented, discussed
Europe outside UK. Since then the European contributions and compared. There are certainly many obstacles to imple-
have been dominating the ICA conferences. Since 1997 ment great ideas in full scale, and many academic people can
between 53 and 62% of the contributions have come from not afford this effort. The funding agencies ask for quick
Europe. The European COST 624/682 programs started in 1992, results and PhD students have to finish on time. . Some of the
provided 12 excellent years of cooperation and made a huge implementation aspects may be more perspiration than
impact on the joint efforts between many universities. This inspiration. Consequently, this kind of work is not sufficiently
has been of great importance for the ICA research in Europe. rewarded in the academic systems. . A winewin situation
 Australia was not presenting any ICA papers until the first has to be created. The consulting engineer can only be moti-
paper appeared in at ICA (1990) in Kyoto. At ICA (2009) in vated to attend a conference if he or she can pick up results
Cairns one out of seven papers came from Australia. that can be quickly turned into profitable business. Such
a reality has to be recognised. How do we meet? . The
The affiliations of the first authors are shown in Fig. 3. manufacturer has to look for new customers. Typically the
At the first ICA conference it was obvious that the contri- university departments are not the most profitable customers.
butions came from the problem owners; the utilities, the . So, the potential customers have to have a reason to come
instrument manufacturers and the plant designers. More than to the conference.” During recent years some good ‘practical’
80% of the papers were presented by these categories. Only workshops have been created, for example at WEFTEC and at
10% of the contributions came from universities. Since then the modelling conferences WWTMod and have given reasons
there has been a dramatic change in style of the conferences. for ‘customers’ to come. More of this kind is needed for future
At the last four conferences, since 1997, academic authors ICA conferences.
have contributed with almost two-thirds of the papers. At the The conference topics:
same time we now see much less of the real problem owners,
the utilities and the industrialists. It has become quite  Instrumentation was considered crucial for any progress in
apparent that the focus has shifted from problem driven (as the 1970s and 1980s. This was also reflected in the confer-
defined by the “end users”) to methodology driven research. ence contributions. Since then there has been a huge
As noted in my summary of the 2001 ICA conference (Olsson, development of on-line sensors and naturally a lot of the
2002): “The communication (or lack of it) between control product development has taken place in industry. Instru-
engineers, water and wastewater engineers, theoreticians and mentation for control has no longer the focus at the
practical people has been the theme of discussion in all the conferences. Instead we see more control contributions
ICA conferences since 1973. We have made some small based on advanced nutrient on-line measurements.
improvements in this communication, but still we can do However, still there is no standardized way to check data
better. At ICA 2001, 40% were non-academic participants and quality for on-line instruments, even if a lot of progress has
this looks like a good number. Still, we would like to see more been made.
practitioners at the ICA conferences, so we must reconsider if  Modelling: The phenomenal computer development has
been a major driving force for all of ICA. Within the IWA
publications the most obvious sign is the development of
modelling and simulation. Modelling based on first princi-
ples was not in the main flow of papers in the early ICA
conferences. Control was based on empirical models or
models achieved via process measurements and identifi-
cation. The presentation of the ASM1 model (see 5.1) meant
a major step towards more complex model development. At
the last ICA conferences almost 20% of all the papers were
devoted to modelling and simulation, Fig. 4. On top of that,
dynamical modelling progress has been presented at related
IWA conferences, like Watermatex and AutMoNet and
WWTmod. It is safe to say that modelling is soon becoming
a dominating theme. One very significant area is the
benchmarking efforts, see Sec. 9.
 Data acquisition and monitoring: This field has developed
tremendously. The first papers were more on data handling,
error corrections and basic signal filtering. The idea of
applying parameter estimation and process identification in
Fig. 3 e Participation at the ten IWA-ICA conferences from wastewater treatment appeared first in the 1970s and the
different categories of authors (in percent). Only the first estimation methods have been gradually more sophisti-
author is shown. Here “industries” are defined as cated. Again, it is a matter of ensuring data quality, and
commercial instrument manufacturers, consulting there is room for much more data screening and monitoring
companies and commercial research institutions. in water and wastewater applications.
1596 w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4

a plant will increase the efficiency but will reduce the safety
margins. This has to be considered in all operations, and some
aspects are further discussed in Sec. 12.

4.1. On-line sensors

In the early 1970s it was considered that the main obstacle to

develop control and automation in wastewater systems was
the lack of adequate sensors, especially field instrumentation.
A lot of attention was given to on-line instrument develop-
ment during the first ICA conferences. Some common strategy
had to be worked out how to further develop on-line sensors
and to define which parameters were of primary interest for
control and automation. The sensors offered for wastewater
control appeared to be those developed for other industries
and were not really suitable for the usually hostile conditions
of wastewater processing. It was recognized that plant
Fig. 4 e The number of modelling papers at the ten IWA performance had to be assessed continuously. However,
conferences on ICA. variables like dissolved oxygen, conductivity and turbidity
were considered reliably measurable and many new instru-
ments for flow rate, suspended solids, organic matter,
 Control. The presentations on control methods and control ammonia and nitrate were presented. The developments re-
implementations have all the time been around 30e50% of ported indicated that the commercially available probes for
all the papers. However, it is instructive to look in more measurement of ammonia and nitrate ions could be used for
detail what types of contributions that have been made. this purpose, provided they could be maintained at constant
This is further commented below. temperature and buffers and suitable standards were added at
appropriate time intervals (Briggs, 1973).
Many instruments had been tested only in lab or pilot scale
4. Sensors and actuators environments and the necessary robustness of the instru-
ments was often lacking. In the mid 1970s there were on-line
No process control application can perform better than the COD instruments available, but they required huge amount of
quality of the measurement data. In wastewater treatment maintenance work. Even more importantly: the operators had
there are many sensors considered standard, such as pH, only vague ideas how to use the information from the sensor,
pressure, flow rate, DO and MLSS that only require minimum so many people gave up the idea of applying this kind of
maintenance. Other sensors, such as NHþ  3
4 , NO3 , and PO4 , analytical instruments. It is obvious that any instrument has
include more advanced analysis and have to be maintained to have a purpose. If this is not recognized by the operating
and checked due to specific quality maintenance programmes and maintenance personnel, then the interest to keep the
to ensure the measurement quality. sensor calibrated and running will quickly fade away. The
Some aspects of on-line instrumentation for control need initial difficulties with the advanced instruments created a lot
to be emphasized: of suspicion about such equipment and may have caused an
unnecessary delay in the application of advanced devices,
 Instrumentation e including sensors, analysers and other when improved instruments became available in the market.
measuring instruments e is no longer the bottleneck for the Aeration is of course a key operation, and consequently DO
control of wastewater systems. However, it has to be kept in sensors were considered particularly important. Commercial
mind that the measurements all the time have to be quality DO sensors were used on a routine basis already from the
checked. Still there is no general standard how to check on- early 1980s as a basis for control. Still, as noted in Ingildsen
line sensors, and it is important to realize that a control loop et al. (2002a) and in Jeppsson et al. (2002) DO control was far
depends on every single value from the sensors. from fully utilized in the early 2000s. The instruments
 On-line measurements can never be used for control required to measure nutrient concentrations were either
without adequate data quality check. Thus instrumentation unavailable or considered too unreliable to be used in prac-
always has to be combined with adequate data screening, tical applications. However, developments during the last two
measurement processing and more or less sophisticated decades have changed that (Table 1) and increased confidence
feature extraction from the measurements. in instrumentation is now driven by the fact that clear defi-
nitions of performance characteristics and standardised tests
Also, a poor performance of an actuator can destroy the for instrumentation have become available (ISO 15839:2003).
result of the best control method, as discussed in 4.3. Then However, still many manufacturers do not seem to be ready to
there is another risk connected with the control of wastewater follow the ISO standard (Rieger, 2011).
treatment. A more efficient system is often driven to the Next to the more common measurements there are also
effluent limits. Consequently, if a sensor fails, there is an other instrumentation available for control, such as respi-
inherent danger to violate the effluent limits. Controlling rometers, VFA and alkalinity sensors (Vanrolleghem and Lee,
w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4 1597

had failed because of the unreliable measurements. Sekine

Table 1 e Commonly used measurements performed by
instrumentation on WWTPs (from Olsson et al., 2004). et al. (1985) demonstrated a renewed interest in using the
ORP as an indicator of nitrification. Wareham et al. (1993) used
Flow rate Conductivity Ammonium
the ORP as an indicator of the nitrate breakpoint. Caulet et al.
Level, pressure Dissolved oxygen Nitrate
Temperature Turbidity Phosphate (1998) presented the successful application of ORP based
pH Sludge concentration Organic matter nitrogen removal control, applied to several small activated
Redox Sludge blanket level Biogas production sludge plants. Cecil (2003) used ORP measurements at the Ejby
Mølle WWTP (300,000 PE), an alternating plant in Odense,
Denmark, to control the denitrification phase. Aeration was
restarted when the redox potential dropped to its low setpoint
2003). As Jeppsson et al. (2002) noted, sensors were no longer
or when ammonium reached its upper setpoint. Similarly
the bottleneck for ICA in practice. However, still the applica-
ammonia measurements were used to control the aeration.
tion of the instrumentation needs a lot of attention to get
When the lower ammonia setpoint was reached the aeration
reliable information. Another major obstacle for good control
would stop. A refinement of the method was described in Cecil
is the lack of plant flexibility and controllability.
Standardisation of instrumentation specifications now
Modern, automated wastewater treatment plants depend
makes it possible to specify, compare and select the most
heavily on on-line instruments. Even if instruments are much
adequate instrumentation e not only in technical terms but
better today but they still get fouled or fail. Tools are needed to
also in economical terms through calculation of the cost-of-
work around these disturbances and to correct the sensors. A
ownership (Table 2). The investment costs for the device itself
lot of attention needs to be focused on measurement quality
are often a minor part of the costs during the lifetime of the
checking. In situ sensors for concentrations (optical and ion
selective sensors) require regular inspection and adjustment.
It took at least a couple of decades to make the instru-
Advanced unit processes, like post-denitrification and filter
mentation wishing list from Clemson (1974) a reality. Nutrient
plants, have plenty of instrumentation and control loops
analysers have developed into in situ sensors, DO sensors are
making decisions based on on-line instruments and have to
now based on the luminescent principle (LDO sensors) and do
work unattended all around the clock. This also requires
not need membranes. It was recognized in the 1970s that the
safety nets for the control as well as fault-tolerant algorithms
sludge blanket height should be a basic control parameter.
and methodologies. The time interval for correction depends
Promising ultra-sonic detectors were under test at that time.
on the type of media to be measured, sensor characteristics,
Today on-line sludge blanket sensors are reliable and used on
measurement range, measurement application as well as the
a routine basis.
sensitivity of the process being measured. The issue of
In anaerobic sludge digestion operation the gas production,
creating a robust system for data acquisition which forms the
gas quality, volatile acids content, temperature, sludge feed
basis for control and decision-making is crucial. Calibration
rate and alkalinity could be measured in the early 1970s. It was
and maintenance requires skilled and motivated personnel.
also recognized that a measure of organism activity was
Still, manual adjustments will simply require too much
required (Bargman et al., 1973). The volatile-acids-to-
operator time with increasing levels of control and instru-
alkalinity ratio related to gas production was considered
mentation. Lumley et al. (2009) and Nivert et al. (2009)
such a measure. A comprehensive review of instrumentation
addressed this issue and presented methods for auto-
in anaerobic treatment can be found in Spanjers and van Lier
adjustment of the instruments at the Rya WWTP, Göteborg,
Sweden. This has significantly improved the quality of the
Also the oxidation reduction potential (ORP) may be
a measure of organism condition. However, no reliable on-line
Sensors usually do not give an immediate response, but the
transducers for volatile acids, alkalinity or ORP were available
response time is not known to a lot of people. Obviously this
in 1973. There were indications at various places that the ORP
will create problems for control and is an important part of
might be a near primary indicator of both aerobic and anaer-
any control system (Rieger et al., 2003).
obic activity, but attempts to apply control based on the ORP

4.2. Respirometry

Respirometry was in 1973 considered as “probably the most

Table 2 e Items (and examples) included in the
instrumentation cost-of-ownership calculation (from important primary control measurement for aerobic
Olsson et al., 2004). processes since it can be used to: (a) measure the viability of
the activated sludge, (b) provide food-to-mass (note: today we
Instrumentation Cost of the instrumentation itself
Conditioning Cost of rig, building, pumps, pipes, pre-treatment prefer to call it food-to-microorganism, F/M) control biological
Installation Time costs for project and skilled workers treatment, (c) provide a measure of aeration tank performance
Integration Time costs for programming of data acquisition including how to place aerators, (d) provide a measure of
and control systems clarifier behaviour, and (e) allow waste treatability to be
Consumables Costs of chemicals, power, etc. determined” (William Garber, see Bargman et al., 1973). A
Maintenance Cost of service contract and time costs for
respirometer had been presented by Robert Arthur in 1972
calibration, cleaning, etc.
Spare parts Cost of spare parts
(Arthur, 1972). Fujimoto et al. (1981) outlined a method to use
respiration rate measurements to control the DO
1598 w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4

concentration in a reactor. A number of measurement tech- DO sensor dynamic can not be neglected. In the estimation
niques and instruments were subsequently developed. There scheme the time varying respiration rate was modelled by
was a great confusion about the principles of respiration and a filtered random walk model, and the nonlinear KLa function
the various respirometers described. Some of this confusion was modelled with an exponential model. A numerical study
had to do with the location of the instrument in the process illustrated the advantage of the method and real data were
and others with the interaction between the respirometer and applied to the software sensor with promising results.
the treatment plant. This situation created a need to make an A new problem appeared if the respiration was to be esti-
extensive study of respirometric principles and their appli- mated under closed loop DO control. Then the airflow rate is
cations in wastewater treatment control. Peter Vanrolleghem determined by the DO controller. The closed loop makes
(Vanrolleghem and Verstraete, 1993; Temmink et al., 1993) identification much trickier. Under no control the relationship
and Henri Spanjers (Klapwijk et al., 1993; Spanjers et al., 1993, between the airflow and the DO concentration will identify
1994) had extensive experiences of respirometry. They were the DO dynamics. Under closed loop control the same data
using different respirometry measurement principles, and may as well identify the dynamics of the DO controller. This
they initiated a systematic comparison of the methods problem was solved by Holmberg et al. (1988), and it was
(Spanjers and Vanrolleghem, 1995). Within the IAWQ (the shown that both the KLa and the respiration rate could be
predecessor of IWA) we joined in a Task Group in 1993 with calculated on-line while controlling the DO concentration.
the mission to write a Scientific and Technical Report on the This meant that we could track the development of the
subject. The work in progress was presented in Spanjers et al. respiration rate on-line. Carlsson (1993) developed a new
(1996). The final report, Spanjers et al. (1998a), presented all estimator for the respiration rate that can be used during
possible aspects of respirometry and its application for normal closed loop control of the dissolved oxygen. The esti-
control. mation takes place in two parts. In the first step a model of the
The respiration rate can be determined in various parts of oxygen transfer rate KLa is estimated from a data set. The
the activated sludge system (Spanjers et al., 1999). nonlinear KLa function is modelled with a static, constrained,
Vanrolleghem et al. (1999) described the estimation of piecewise linear model. Once the KLa has been found in the
parameters in activated sludge models using respirometry. first step the respiration can easily be calculated from the DO
The Respirometry Task Group produced a second Scientific and airflow measurements.
and Technical Report (Copp et al., 2002) where a wide range of Despite the great expectations already in the 1970s control
control strategies was evaluated, using respirometry as a base based on respirometry never took off. There are many
for feedforward/feedback control. Most of these schemes are proposed controls, but most of them are never implemented
only tested in simulation. Respiration as an early warning in full scale. My own interpretation is that current sensor
system is an attractive application, for example to detect technology for DO and nutrients are adequate for feedback
toxicity upstream or to determine the influent biodegradable control. Still respirometry is a viable method for in-stream
organic substrate concentration. Full scale use of respirometry early warning systems.
for toxicity protection has been applied in industrial
processes. A nice example is found in Vanrolleghem et al.
(1994). Another application of toxicity detection in hospital 4.3. Actuators
wastewater using respirometry is presented by Vanrolleghem
et al. (1996a). It was recognized early that actuators may limit the ability of
As remarked in 2.4 it was recognized early that the whole control, for example by having a too low maximum or too high
aeration basin could be used as a respirometer. Based on the minimum capacity. This is probably the most fundamental
DO mass balance this seemed to be a straightforward task. barrier for more widespread acceptance of new control strat-
The DO concentrations could be measured in the influent and egies, and many existing wastewater treatment plants are not
effluent and the saturation concentration was assumed to be designed for real time control. The ability to adjust the control
known. However, the oxygen transfer rate KLa as a function of handles in a continuous way is also of paramount importance
the airflow rate is not static, so it is not trivial to calculate the to get a smooth and varied control, e.g. by using variable speed
respiration rate. While the respiration rate r is variable on electric drives.
a minute-to-minute time scale the KLa function is slowly In one small industrial plant (in Sweden) it was desired to
variable. Both parameters have to be estimated. The respira- perform DO control since the DO levels were far too high. We
tion can be estimated only if KLa is known and vice versa. tried to figure out how to control the DO, and it soon appeared
Using the short time scale the time-variable r could be that there was no point in trying any control. The plant was
calculated, assuming that KLa was known. Likewise the KLa supplied with three on/off compressors and at our evaluation
was calculated by disturbing the airflow by identification only one was used and the DO concentration was extremely
experiments, as was indicated earlier. Goto and Andrews high. An average of about a half compressor capacity would
(1985) estimated the respiration rate on-line using DO and have been sufficient. As I was staying at the side of the aerated
airflow measurements. The procedure was made in two steps. reactor, located underground, I asked the operator to turn on
First the oxygen transfer rate (KLa) was estimated, and based all the three compressors, just to satisfy my curiosity. The
on this result the oxygen uptake rate was calculated. A further result was impressive. As the aerated water surface rose
development of estimation of the respiration, using a more quickly and soon reached the floor I started to run to the exit
sophisticated filtering algorithm was made by Lindberg and of the underground chamber. This is the only time I have been
Carlsson (1996a). They also considered the case when the panicking at a wastewater treatment plant!
w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4 1599

A municipal plant (in the USA) was supplied with four on/ fourth control action was presented by Busby and Andrews
off compressors. The average air requirement would be (1973), step feed control, based on the results from the PhD
adequately supplied by around 0.6 compressors. In still thesis by Busby (1973). The idea of step feed control was not
another plant DO control was meaningless due to the design new, and Bill Torpey had already in the 1940s shown that
of the primary pump. This on/off pump was so much over- changes in the contacting patterns are effective in the control
designed that it needed to be turned on only five minutes per of sludge bulking (Torpey, 1948). Busby and Andrews now
hour to pump the influent. As a result a huge hydraulic shock examined the possible benefits of using step feed control
upset the plant once an hour, causing difficult settling prob- based on a dynamic model and computer simulations of the
lems. No DO control or step feed control system could ever process. The step feed model had to incorporate the storage
compensate for this poor pump design. capability of the sludge and also the active and inert fractions
We once performed DO concentration identification of the MLVSS were needed to develop the control strategies. A
experiments. The airflow setpoint was manually changed from model for the aeration basin was coupled with a dynamic
the control panel, but absolutely nothing happened with the model of the final clarifier. Noteworthy works on activated
DO concentration as a result of the setpoint changes. It took sludge models were done by Busby and Andrews (1975), and
some time to discover that the butterfly airflow valve had got Stenstrom (1975). We presented a first approach to a model
stuck. It appeared that the valve was connected via library in 1985 (Olsson et al., 1985b) as an attempt to find
a mechanical link to a pneumatic actuator. The link went a standardized way of describing and simulating complex
through the fence around the reactor. However, somebody had wastewater systems. Different modules of reactor descrip-
mounted a net in the fence so that the link could not move! tions for C and N removal could be combined with various
Often valves are poorly designed for control. One problem modules for settlers and clarifiers. The systems were simu-
may be their nonlinear behaviour. Another problem is that lated on a general purpose simulator Simnon. The fast
their operating range for control is only a fraction of the range development of commercial wastewater system simulators
of the valve. This makes the control difficult and inaccurate. soon made our own library obsolete. The first version of the
This is discussed in more detail in Olsson and Newell (1999, GPS simulator was presented by Patry and Takács (1990) and
Ch. 24). In one plant experiment we tried to control the actually contained some of the “Olsson models”.
influent flow rate based on the sewer level measurements by Since the 1970s there has been a remarkable development
using the large influent flow valve. The operating range of the of activated sludge models. One sign of this activity is the
valve was about 1 m, but the interesting range was limited to number of “model papers” at the ICA conferences, mentioned
about 0.02 m around the operating point at 0.2 m. In other earlier. Several other groups outside the ICA Specialist Group
words, the control action was very inaccurate and difficult. are working on modelling. Researchers in biological nutrient
removal and anaerobic processes have made outstanding
progress and given us a better understanding of the processes.
5. Modelling efforts A series of inspiring seminars on modelling were held in
Kollekolle, Denmark, the first one in 1985 under the leadership
An adequate process understanding is crucial for all control of Paul Harremoës. Two new workshops have now been
and automation. All modelling efforts should have in mind organized in the same spirit, this time in Mont Sainte-Anne,
what Albert Einstein once noted: “Make everything as simple Quebec, Canada, the 1st and 2nd IWA/WEF Wastewater
as possible, but not simpler”. Over the years we have seen Treatment Modelling Seminars (WWTMod) in 2008 and 2010,
various kinds of models developed and a lot of efforts have respectively.
been spent to better understand the mechanisms and The presentation of the Activated Sludge Model no 1
dynamics in biological nutrient removal, anaerobic digestion (ASM1) in 1985 (Henze et al., 1987a,b) was a true landmark,
as well as in clarification and settling. One class of models is also for ICA. The subsequent models for the activated sludge
aiming to encapsulate the knowledge of the processes, process (Henze et al., 1995, 2000), for anaerobic processes
substrates and organisms involved. Another class of models (Batstone et al., 2002) and for biofilm processes (Eberl et al.,
has been developed to be the basis for control actions. A model 2006) have all contributed to encapsulate the knowledge
is an abstract representation of the real world and it is used to about the mechanisms and the dynamical behaviour of the
support decision-making (Daigger, 2011). Therefore the various processes. The impact of the models has been
usefulness of the model does not depend on its completeness phenomenal. Modelling has developed from a pure research
but on its usefulness to support any decision-making, for instrument into a commercially valuable and widely used
design, for control and for operation. tool. The models have been used for design as well as
a representation of the “true” plant to test various control and
5.1. Activated sludge reactor models operational strategies.
The ASM1 model gave new insight into the dynamical
In the 1970s significant progress in modelling and under- behaviour of the activated sludge model with both carbon and
standing activated sludge dynamics was made by the group nitrogen removal. However, the ASM models are not directly
lead by Professor John F. Andrews, first at Clemson University identifiable from on-line measurements (Holmberg, 1982;
and later at the University of Houston and Rice University in Jeppsson and Olsson, 1993; Jeppsson, 1996; Julien et al., 1998),
Houston. The activated sludge process for organic removal which means that simpler models have to be derived to form
was operated using three control actions: the return sludge the basis for control actions, for example model predictive
flow rate, the waste sludge flow rate and the aeration rate. A control. However, the ASM models have other important uses
1600 w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4

in connection with control. Even if the model is uncalibrated it Angeles, California) developed a one-dimensional model of
is favourably used to test various control structures (which the settler, using the zone settling theory (Stenstrom, 1975). It
sensor to connect to which actuator) as well as control algo- is assumed that the layers below the feed are subject to zone
rithms. The numbers may not be completely correct but as settling and that the compression takes place in the bottom
long as the answers are in the right order of magnitude and slice. The key assumption for the hindered settling is to
the rates of changes are correctly simulated a lot of under- assume that the settling velocity is a decreasing function of
standing can be obtained. Then, in the final implementation of the local sludge concentration, according to the popular
the controller we need calibrated models for the controller assumption by Kynch. Common models for the settling
tuning and action. velocity below the sludge blanket are of the form:
ASM models have been used to interpret data from respi-
rometric and titrimetric measurements. Incoming readily vi ¼ C1 eC2 xi
biodegradable COD and nitrogen have been estimated and where vi is the settling velocity, xi the sludge concentration,
nitrifier activity and specific growth rate could be estimated. and C1 and C2 are constants.
Some of these results are reported in Gerneay et al. (1997, In the early 1980s very little progress had been made on
2001), Yuan et al. (1999) and Yuan and Bogaert (2001). Unfor- structured dynamical models for clarifiers. Such a model
tunately I have seen very little of this approach in full scale should relate the dynamic performance of the effluent sus-
operation. pended solids as a function of the flow rate and the concen-
There is a temptation to make models increasingly tration variations. Still the floc formation had a major
complex as our knowledge of basic mechanisms increase. As influence on the clarifier behaviour. Most common was the
Gujer (2011) pointed out, the complexity of models has empirical static relationship suggested by Pflanz (1969),
increased exponentially parallel to the increased capacity of stating that the effluent suspended solids content is approx-
computing power. However, too often we have mixed up imately proportional to the solids flux to the solidseliquid
complexity with accuracy. It is not guaranteed that adding an separator:
extra equation into the model will increase the accuracy.
Naturally a more elaborate model will be useful for other Q þ QR
xe ¼ K x
purposes, such as getting a better understanding of the qual- A
itative behaviour and the internal couplings of a complex where xe is the effluent suspended solids concentration, x the
system. However, there is always the risk that we trust the MLSS concentration, K a constant, A the clarifier area, Q the
models too much. influent flow rate and QR the return sludge flow rate.
We performed identification experiments in 1975e1976 to
explore the dynamics of the clarifier performance in the
5.2. Clarifier and settler dynamical models Käppala wastewater treatment works in Stockholm (Olsson
and Hansson, 1976b), illustrated in Fig. 5. The influent flow
The focus on modelling has been on the reactors. However, rate was manipulated in order to create changes in the
many people realized early that the two stages e substrate effluent suspended solids concentration. In order to get
oxidation and separation of the biological floc from the a more accurate description of the relationship to the MLSS it
liquid e must not be dissociated. The first strategies sug- would have been desired to manipulate the MLSS
gested for control of the settler were simple proportional
controllers (Busby and Andrews, 1973). The wasting rate Fw
was defined by
Wastewater flow rate m3/s
Fw ¼ Fw0 ðz  z0 Þ

where z is the sludge blanket height and Fw0 and z0 are 0.4
constants. If the sludge blanket is lower than z0 then the waste
sludge flow rate is set to zero. This strategy prevented that 2000
suspended solids were lost in the clarifier effluent. However,
too large quantities of solids were wasted.
Using another strategy the return sludge flow rate Fr was MLSS mg/l
controlled based on sludge blanket measurements z:
0 Sec. effluent susp. solids mg/l (1/500) 1800
Fr ¼ Fr0 þ KF ðz  z1 Þ

where Fr0 is a constant flow rate, KF a constant parameter and

0 100 200 300 400 500
z1 a constant sludge level defined for the plant. If the blanket
Time minutes
height was less than z1 then the return sludge flow rate was
set to Fr0. Fig. 5 e Illustration of the dynamical relationship between
The standard design method for clarifiers and settlers was influent flow rate, MLSS and the effluent suspended solids
based on the static zone settling assumption. In the mid 1970s concentration. The experiment was performed in the
attempts were made to develop dynamical models for the Käppala wastewater treatment plant in Sweden. The
settler unit, in particular by PhD students of Professor John effluent suspended solids concentration behaves like
Andrews. Mike Stenstrom (now professor at UCLA, Los a first order dynamical system for changes in the flow rate.
w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4 1601

independently of the flow rate, but this was not possible. a nonlinear partial differential equation that models the
Instead, any change of the influent flow rate caused process. In the late 1980s and early 1990s we simulated the
a changing concentration of the MLSS. one-dimensional clarifier/settler models and got some
As a result it was found that a first-order dynamical model confusing results. It appeared that the position of the sludge
could describe the relationship between the flow rate and the blanket may “jump” suddenly between two levels. This
effluent concentration. The model with the flow rate as input problem had been recognized by Vitasovic (1986) and he
had about the same accuracy as the model with the flux simply added an extra condition in the model that the
(Q þ QR)$x as input: concentration in the settler had to increase towards the
  bottom. From a modelling point of view this was not very
dxe 1 Q þ QR
¼  xe þ K x satisfactory. The physical process will never behave like the
dt T A
numerical solution of the model equations. Something must
where the time constant T was found to be of the order 55 min be missing.
and K was determined to 0.06. Typical published K values were I decided to discuss the problem with the mathemati-
0.08e0.1. It should be emphasized that the purpose of the cians. There must be a proof that there exists one unique
model was not to get a general predictor for the effluent solution to the settler equations. I have to admit that I was
concentration. The sludge blanket influence was not taken apprehensive to approach the professors Lars Hörmander
into account. Still the model described that the relationship and Lars Gårding at Lund University, both of them celebrated
between the flow rate and the effluent concentration was authorities in partial differential equations. My problem may
dynamic in nature. The most important lesson from these be just trivial. However, it appeared that they liked the
early experiments was that the influent flow pumping has to challenge and professor Gunnar Sparr engaged himself in
be as smooth as possible. Any sudden changes e like the ones this problem area and found a good student, Stefan Diehl.
created by on-off pumping e had a detrimental impact on the Actually, quite new results in nonlinear partial differential
effluent quality. We made further pilot clarifier studies in the equations had to be used to find the proof. Already in his
1980s at the Wastewater Technology Centre, Burlington, master thesis Stefan Diehl described the problem and found
Ontario, Canada (Olsson and Chapman, 1985). By dynamic a good outline of the solution (Diehl et al., 1990). He proved
experiments and parameter identification we found that the that it is sufficient to describe the settling velocity as
effluent concentration depended on both the flow rate and its a function of concentration just as a concave function with
time derivative when the flow rate increased. For a decreasing no specific analytical description. In continuous settlers
flow rate the best model was a simple first-order model of the there is a discontinuity where the feed flow enters the
flow rate related to the effluent concentration. settler. This presents particular problems to be treated in
Vitasovic (1986, 1989) further developed the secondary settler a strict mathematical way. In his subsequent PhD thesis
model to include the clarifier. He suggested a double exponential (Diehl, 2001). Diehl described robust algorithms to solve the
form of the flux model, later adopted by Takács et al. (1991), settler equations. This has lead to a series of publications
  giving a sound mathematical framework to the settler
vi ¼ C1 eC2 ðxi xI Þ  eC3 ðxi xI Þ equations. Key results are summarized in Diehl and Jeppsson
where the Ci are constants and xI represents the fraction of (1998), Diehl (2011) and Diehl and Farås (2011). The beauty of
solids that will not settle at all. The first exponential term the results is that they show what properties that the model
represents settling and the second exponential term repre- needs to have in order to describe the actual phenomenon.
sents clarification. The approach to describe the solids From an academic and model building aspect this is an
concentration profile in one dimension, both above and below important result. It does not change the understanding of the
the feeding point, is still used in a lot of settler modelling settler behaviour, but provides a better foundation for
(Jeppsson et al., 2006). A number of models have been devel- modelling efforts. A core result of the papers by Bürger et al.
oped as refinements of Vitasovic’ work (Takács, 2008). Recent (2011a,b) is that the model equations can produce approxi-
efforts to improve secondary settling tank models are pre- mate solutions that converge to the exact solution as the
sented by Plósz et al. (2007, 2011), De Clercq et al. (2008), discretization is refined.
Abusam and Keesman (2009), David et al. (2009a,b). Still much
remains to be done. For example, we do not have a full
understanding of the relationship between the activated 5.4. Modelling uncertainty
sludge flocs and the settleability of the sludge. As Gujer (2011)
remarks: some hydraulic phenomena may be wrongly A model of our understanding of phenomena and can never be
explained by adjusting biokinetic parameters. This is an more accurate than the measurements allow. There are many
example of the consequences of structural errors (see 5.4) that factors that will contribute to model uncertainty (Olsson and
are wrongly compensated by parameter adjustments. Newell, 1999), such as

 Measurement inaccuracy: Calibration errors, sensor noise,

5.3. Numerical solutions of the clarifier and settler sampling time, sensor location, analytical technique;
dynamics  Process noise: Non-ideal mixing, external disturbances;
 Parameter values: Many of them are difficult to estimate,
The basic assumptions of the solidseflux theory yield a mass such as growth rates or transfer rates. Time varying prop-
balance in each vertical layer of the settler, which leads to erties demand continuous updates;
1602 w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4

 Structural uncertainty: are all relevant components repre-

sented, such as filamentous organisms and higher ACTUATORS PROCESS MEASUREMENT

 Mode changes: as a result of new phenomena, like sludge
We can note that some of this uncertainty can be elimi-
nated with further knowledge and research. Other kinds of
uncertainty will always be there, for example the varying Fig. 6 e Decision-making process (from Olsson and Newell,
composition and concentration of the influent water. 1999).
How do we take the consequences of uncertainty into
consideration? The designer mostly compensate for the
uncertainty by adding a safety factor in the design. The
control engineer needs to compensate in another way. We have noted for a long time that these components have
Uncertainty means that the prediction of various variables is traditionally all been implemented by plant-operating
not perfect (Beck, 1987). As a consequence the control actions personnel using intuition and heuristics developed often
usually become more cautious. A cautious controller will have subconsciously from their experience. A lot of ICA research
a smaller gain so that the desired process variable will need has addressed this problem from a systematic point of view. A
a longer time to reach the final goal. Control under uncertainty challenge is to document the experience in the control
or stochastic control is a special field of control theory where computer in such a way that the operating personnel may use
the uncertainty and disturbances are modelled explicitly. the information in a consistent way and to save the knowl-
Another area of great interest is robust control, where the edge gained by experienced operators.
uncertainties are implicitly included in the control design. If
the control system can tolerate a wide spectrum of distur- 6.1. Data acquisition
bances and uncertainty, then the control is robust (Flores-
Alsina et al., 2008). Vanrolleghem and Gillot (2002) presented During the 1970s and early 1980s there were hardly any
an interesting evaluation of control strategies by adopting publications in the wastewater profession showing methods
a robustness index to the control. A Task Group on Design and for data screening and measurement verification. However, in
Operations Uncertainty was formed within IWA (Belia et al., the control society many methods were well established and
2009). The attention of the group is on uncertainties in were applied in the early computer control installations
model-based decision-making for wastewater treatment (Gillblad and Olsson, 1977). An early paper explicitly
plant design and operation. Uncertainties have to be addressing this issue for wastewater treatment was Kanaya
expressed more explicitly. Even if safety factors will remain as et al. (1985). Almost all measurement series is affected by
parameters in the design process they may hopefully become some problems like missing values, noise or outliers. Then
more specific. To tackle some of these problems a dozen each signal has to be analyzed with respect to its amplitude,
researchers met in November 2010 to discuss different ways of mean value, deviation from normal situation, rate of change,
handling uncertainties in different water disciplines trend, and variability.
(Vanrolleghem et al., 2011). Wastewater systems are relatively slow systems. Still,
when disturbances appear in the plant it may be quite difficult
to dampen their effect. Therefore early warning systems are
asked for. At the conference ICA (1993) in Hamilton, Canada, it
6. Data analysis and monitoring in was predicted that this area would gain interest (Olsson, 1993)
wastewater systems and over the last few years there has been a significant
increase in the interest of detection and isolation of
To measure is to know but information needs to be properly disturbances.
extracted from the measured data. Measurements are used for
decision support, for early warning of disturbances and 6.2. On-line parameter estimation
process changes, for tracking interesting and relevant
parameters as well as for the basis of control actions. In Sec. 2.3 we discussed off-line identification as a means to
Measurements from the instrumentation shall be available understand the dynamics of a wastewater treatment system.
24 h a day and 7 days a week. However, even reliable instru- It was also used to detect changes in the process and in
mentation can fail during operation, which can have serious sensors. In many cases the investigation of individual signals
consequences if the instrumentation is used in closed loop is insufficient and can not reveal the true state of the process.
control (see 4.1). Therefore real time data validation is needed Variables influence each other and one must often look at
before using measurements for control purposes. Corrupted several variables simultaneously. On-line instrumentation
measurements must be found and corrected, so that false made it possible to track the performance of a plant and find
conclusions based on the measurements are avoided. The out key parameters that could indicate the state of the oper-
components of a plant decision-making system are shown in ation, if the plant was in a “normal” operating condition or in
Fig. 6. To track the current process operational state via the some kind of extreme condition. The control actions may be
instrumentation is called monitoring. quite different in these cases. The immediate challenge was to
w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4 1603

find out how models could be identified from the on-line data, 6.2.3. Using soft sensors for sensor diagnosis
and model reduction was a natural ambition. As on-line instrumentation becomes increasingly important
Using on-line calculation of mass balances for process and for operating modern wastewater treatment plants it is
sensor verification was well established in chemical process necessary to have diagnostic methods that can indicate
control. Of course this could be used also in wastewater sensor deviation at an early stage. At the Rya WWTP (Lumley,
treatment. For example, calculating the MLSS mass balance in 2002) soft sensors have been used to verify instrument read-
the reactor could verify if the MLSS and the return sludge ings. This includes on-line mass balance calculations, which
suspended solids measurements were consistent. Estimation will present a calculated measurement that can be compared
of the respiration was discussed in Sec. 2.3. By using the with the real measurement. Another example is the calcula-
information of the airflow rate and the DO concentration the tion of effluent total P based on effluent turbidity. Still other
respiration in the reactor could be estimated. Below we calculations include estimation of flow rates based on
discuss some of the key parameters that could be estimated changes in levels.

6.2.1. Estimation of the clarifier behaviour 6.3. Monitoring

The identification experiments for the clarifier dynamics
(Olsson and Chapman, 1985) mostly resulted in models of the Multivariate analysis is a way to detect patterns of the oper-
structure ation. Large data sets of m variables can be considered as
a data “cloud” in an m-dimensional space. All the measure-
ce ðtÞ þ a1 $ce ðt  DtÞ ¼ a2 $Qðt  DtÞ
ments at one instant make up one point in the cloud. Many of
where ce is the effluent concentration and Q the feed flow rate the variables are usually correlated, since most of them reflect
to the clarifier. We got good indications that the parameters ai some underlying mechanisms that drive the process in
could be updated recursively: different ways. Therefore the true dimension of the cloud is
usually much less than m. By projecting the data cloud on
ai ðt þ DtÞ ¼ ai ðtÞ þ KðtÞ$½ce ðtÞ  ^ce ðtÞ
a lower dimension space it is often possible to find key vari-
The real measurement ce is compared with the effluent ables. In the simplest case with two variables, a regression line
concentration ^ce predicted by the model. If the predicted value or curve can represent both of them. Multivariate analysis had
was close to the measurement, then no correction was made. been used for many years in the chemical process industry,
When the difference between measurement and model was but was introduced into the wastewater industry in the late
significant then the a value had to change. This indicated 1990s (Rosen and Olsson, 1998). Under normal operating
changing settling behaviour. In the end we were disappointed conditions the cloud is limited within a certain volume. If
to find out that this recursive method was not sufficiently some variables are changing the cloud will move outside this
reliable to detect settling changes. The quality of the volume and an operator can readily detect that something has
measurements was simply not sufficiently good. happened. In principle he will get an automatic detection not
only that a single variable has exceeded the permitted
6.2.2. Estimating nitrate concentration amplitude, but the combination of many signals have crossed
The nitrate concentration was estimated in real time by Cecil an alarm limit. Now the analysis allows backtracking the data,
(2004) based on a dynamic model that is a subset of the ASM1. so that the real physical signals that caused the deviation can
The DO, ammonium and redox concentrations were be identified. Each one of the variables may have changed
measured on-line in the aerated reactors. The model used within permitted limits, but the combination of their devia-
these measurements to continuously adjust its values for the tions has caused an alarm.
influent ammonium concentration, the nitrification rate, the The first challenge is to find a method to project the data
denitrification rate and the net hydrolysis. Then it computed into a smaller space. The second one is to find out what is the
the nitrate concentration with an updated value every 10 s. boundary of a “normal” cloud. In other words, how do we find
The estimation schemes were used at two full scale activated a suitable method to calculate this boundary. For a single
sludge plants and showed satisfying agreement between the variable we may define one or two sets of alarm limits. For the
model values and the output of in situ nitrate measurements. collection of many signals this “alarm limit” has to be more
An application of estimating the nitrate concentration in sophisticated (Rosen, 2001).
a post-denitrification unit of the Viikinmäki WWTP in Helsinki, The most well-known method to reduce the dimension-
Finland is described by Mulas et al. (2011). The control of ality of the data cloud is Principal Component Analysis (PCA).
methanol dosage is usually based on the on-line measurement It is simple in the sense that the data can readily be projected
of the nitrate concentration in the filters. The authors describe into a small dimension. However, PCA methods are insuffi-
the development of an array of soft sensors for real time esti- cient to deal with data that are highly variable, such as
mation of nitrate concentration. This is used as a back-up influent flow rates and compositions. Furthermore, the wide
software system capable of complementing the existing range of time constants in a wastewater treatment system
instrumentation if an instrument failure should happen and makes it difficult to look at correlations of data in just one time
provide a more robust control system. Different kinds of scale. Adaptive PCA can handle this kind of challenges, while
multivariate techniques (see 6.3), both linear and nonlinear, multiscale PCA decomposes the measurement data into
were applied with great success, where the estimated accuracy different time scales using wavelet transforms. Having done
was of the same order as the real nitrate sensor. that a PCA can be used to monitor each time scale. These
1604 w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4

methods were applied for monitoring wastewater treatment in North America. In Europe, the new European Council
data by Rosen and Lennox (2001) and Lennox and Rosen (2002). Directive 98/83/EC is pushing water companies to improve the
Different operational states can be represented by different condition assessment and continuous monitoring of trans-
locations in the multivariate space. The data points can be mission mains in order to safeguard the security of supply to
identified as being in various clusters with different centre customers.
points. Clustering methods can be used to define to what We started research on automatic leakage detection and
extent the current data point belongs to a predefined class. localization in the mid 1990s. When a burst appears then
Here is an obvious application of fuzzy logic when the a transient pressure wave develops. If the pressure can be
boundaries between the clusters are uncertain or when some measured with a high frequency, around 500 Hz, then the
regions are not covered by a class. Fuzzy boundaries also leakage can be localized. Interestingly enough, the wave
provide a means to seamless transitions between classes equations are identical to the electro-magnetic equations that
(Rosen, 2001). appear in a power line as a result of a shortcut. So, results from
The multivariate methods have been successful in many electrical power systems inspired us for leakage detection in
applications, but have been much less useful in others. Rosen water pipes. If the resistance from a power line to earth is zero
et al. (2003) provided a description and insight why some of it means that all the current leaves the power line. Then the
these methods have failed and also gave guidance how to position of the shortcut can be determined accurately. Simi-
adapt the use of the methods for wastewater treatment larly, if there is a 100% leakage then the transient method can
operations. Some of the specific challenges in wastewater localize the leakage relatively accurately. On the other hand, if
treatment monitoring have to do with poor data quality and the resistance is greater, indicating that only a fraction of the
reliability. Nonlinear relationships between variables are also current is going to earth, then the precision of the localization
present. The multivariate methods have often been applied as becomes less accurate. The same conclusion is true for
if the system is static. All these challenges have to and can be a water pipe: if only a fraction of the water leaves the pipe
addressed in order to obtain a successful monitoring. PCA has then the precision of the localisation will be lower.
also been used in sequential batch reactors for monitoring A large number of leak detection and location techniques
(Villez et al., 2008; Lee and Vanrolleghem, 2003) and as a basis have been applied in real systems or have been described in
for control of the phase length (Villez et al., 2010). the literature, and a detailed overview is found in the PhD
thesis by Misiunas (2005). Some of the existing techniques are
6.4. Knowledge-based systems designed for just detecting leaks and are not capable of
locating them while others are developed specifically to locate
In the late 1980s and early 1990s there was a great interest in leaks. Other methods are capable of both detection and loca-
knowledge-based systems, often called expert systems. They tion. Together with the Univ. of Adelaide and the research
were too often used to replace control algorithms written in group under Professor Angus Simpson we got a unique
mathematical terms and the ambition was also to provide the opportunity to take part of their great experimental facilities
operator with some advisory system. Several papers on this for leakage detection and localization. A periodical leak diag-
theme were presented in the 1990 ICA conference. The nosis system that can be implemented on water transmission
expectations of the expert systems were often exaggerated pipelines is presented in Misiunas et al. (2005). The technique
and the results did not show any improvement in plant is based on the transient response difference monitoring. The
performance compared to conventional feedback controllers. leakage detection technique can also be applied for detecting
The reason was simply that the performance was limited by other hydraulic faults, such as blockage or entrapped air
the knowledge of the process dynamics and the measure- pockets. The performance of the failure management tech-
ments, not by the algorithms. Similar unrealistic expectations niques has been evaluated based on: (1) the minimum size of
of expert systems were also noted in other applications in the failure that can be detected and located, (2) the precision
industrial control. Knowledge-based reasoning systems are of the derived location, and (3) the detection and location time,
instead justified on higher levels of control in plant-wide i.e. the time from the actual failure to the time when it is
control systems, discussed in Sec. 11. detected and located. A major application of this technique is
in main pipelines of transmission systems. At the cost of
installing a single pressure monitoring point, sudden bursts
7. Leakage detection and localisation in can be detected and located at any point along the pipeline
water distribution systems with an impressive accuracy. The burst monitoring technique
offers an immediate reaction to potentially hazardous pipe
Over the years I have been more involved in the operation of ruptures. Losses associated with pipe failure can be reduced
wastewater treatment control than in water supply system. significantly if the monitoring system is installed.
However, one area of great interest has been leakage detection A burst can be detected and located not only in a single
and localization. Water utilities around the world lose pipe, like a transmission system, but also in a water distri-
between 25% and 50% of treated water to leaks. Still many bution network (Misiunas et al., 2006). The technique is based
water companies spend far too little effort to develop early on the real time continuous monitoring of network inflow at
warning systems to detect leakages. Water is still too cheap in the entry point of a district metering area (DMA) part of
many places. However, the American Water Works Research a network. The pressure is measured in a few locations within
Foundation states that the inspection and assessment of the DMA. Thus, the burst is detected and located directly after
water pipelines is perhaps the next “big” issue facing utilities it occurs and the isolation time can be minimized preventing
w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4 1605

the large losses associated with the pipe failure. This To define the ultimate goal of wastewater treatment
approach is designed for medium-to-large bursts with control is by no means trivial. Of course the effluent quality
opening times in the order of a few minutes and is suitable for must be satisfactory, and the energy and resource utilization
networks of relatively small size. The flows and pressures in has to be minimized. However, the ability to handle distur-
the network are simulated off-line using the EPANET bances has to be taken into account, and the relation between
(Rossman, 2000) steady-state hydraulic solver. A sensitivity- plant design and operation can not be neglected. In
based sampling design procedure is introduced to find the Vanrolleghem et al. (1996b) a general framework for the
optimal positions for pressure monitoring points. The burst- formulation and analysis of an overall decision support index
induced increase in the inlet flow rate is detected using was discussed. It was indicated that such an index allows
a change detection test. Based on parameters obtained from evaluation of the combined effects of both design and opera-
this test, the burst is simulated at a number of burst candidate tion (i) during the planning phase of new WWTPs, as well as
locations. The changes in pressure at the pressure monitoring (ii) for the evaluation of new operational strategies versus
points obtained from the off-line simulations are then traditional expansions of plants already in operation. The
compared to the measured values and the location resulting index has to include such factors as plant flexibility and
in the best fit is selected as the burst location. The proposed robustness against failures.
burst detection and location technique has been demon-
strated to be most promising. In a recent paper Quevedo et al. 8.1. DO control revisited
(2011) have applied a similar leakage localisation method
based on the pressure measurements and pressure sensitivity The first experiences of DO dynamics and control were
analysis of nodes in a water distribution network. described in Sec. 2. Since the 1970s a huge amount of effort
has been spent to improve DO control. As already pointed out,
there are many factors that will determine the success. The air
diffusers have to allow variable airflows along the reactor and
8. Process control in wastewater treatment the airflow rates in various zones along the reactor have to be
separately controlled on-line. The compressor has to allow
In the 1973 London conference a majority of the control that the total airflow can be varied in a smooth way. A well
systems were presented by the problem owners, the utilities, functioning DO control is the pre-requisite for satisfactory
and some real solutions were presented. Most of them were nutrient sensor-based control.
quite empirical and some of them have been commented Some of the early experiences of DO control were described
above. Some of our early experiences were summarized at in 2.3. In Japan DO control had been implemented at the
a productive workshop at Asilomar, California in early 1976 Mikawashima Sewage Works (Iwaki et al., 1977; Ohto et al.,
(Olsson, 1977). However, already at the 1977 ICA conference 1977). The DO concentration at the outlet part of the reactor
some of us were impatient, as documented by Beck (1977). One was fed back via a PI controller to the airflow control valve. No
aspect was to stress the importance of the overall system cascade control was being used (cf. 2.4). Consequently the
under discussion, i.e. the whole urban water cycle. Another controller had to include the nonlinear characteristics of the
aspect was the difficulties in the communication between butterfly control valve. An 18% reduction of the airflow valve
control engineers and water and wastewater professionals. was obtained, while the DO concentration was kept within
Watts and Evans (1985) made an excellent summary of four- 4  0.3 mg/l. Also Sørensen (1977) showed significant energy
year work on the introduction of ICA in a large wastewater savings of 23e28% as a result of DO control at a pilot plant in
treatment plant. They described some of the instrumentation Copenhagen, Denmark. Other implementations had a step-
experiences, the computer system and the developed soft- by-step adjustment of the blowers based on the DO concen-
ware. At the 1993 ICA conference, Troy Vassos (1993) outlined tration in one of the aeration tanks. A comprehensive DO
a number of potential performance problems which could be control scheme was presented by Bracken and Flanagan
addressed through improved ICA technologies, such as: (1977), including a cascaded control of the DO concentration,
feedforward calculation of the desired airflow, and a cascaded
 Modelling/simulation software, which can incorporate real control system for the inlet guide vanes of the blowers.
time data, to assist in operation training and evaluation of Lindberg and Carlsson (1996b) developed a strategy for
process control alternatives; designing a nonlinear DO controller. The basic idea was to
 Expert system software tools to incorporate qualitative take the nonlinear oxygen transfer function into account in
information into the control loop and aid in data the controller design. Such a nonlinear DO controller would
interpretation; outperform a standard PI controller, which was confirmed in
 Instrumentation and sensor developments to provide reli- a pilot scale plant experiment.
able information for use in control loops. In 1984 we got the opportunity to implement DO control in
all the six parallel basins of the Käppala wastewater treatment
We have seen a phenomenal development of modelling plant, described in 2.3. It was realized that the controller
and software. The expectations of expert systems were too tuning should adapt to various loads. The KLa function
optimistic, but today we have developed a lot of data analysis increases with the airflow rate but for higher loads the slope of
and fault detection methods to make maximum use of sensor the KLa curve will flatten. This means that a controller would
information. The instrumentation development has been need a higher gain at big loads compared to low loads. These
commented above. and other aspects of DO control are explained in detail in
1606 w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4

Olsson and Newell (1999) and Olsson et al. (2005). To solve the three different structures of DO controllers, implemented in
problem of varying control we implemented a self-tuning a pilot plant and using information from ammonia sensors.
regulator (Olsson et al., 1985a). This controller all the time All controllers were simple PI controllers.
compared the control action (the airflow) and the response in Note that DO sensors are still used. The ammonia
DO concentration and continuously adjusted the parameters concentration controller is in cascade with the DO controller,
of the controller so that the DO would be kept as close as which in turn is in cascade with the airflow rate controller.
possible to the desired setpoint. Initially we formulated From a theoretical point of view it would be sufficient to have
a controller of fourth order in order to allow a maximum just the ammonia sensor and a (complex) controller acting
flexibility of the controller. After some time of operation it was directly on the airflow valve or the compressor speed.
found that the controller parameters converged to a much However, this would be a very unreliable and too complex
simpler controller. In fact the controller resembled a simple PI control solution. The reason that the cascade solution is
(proportional-integral) controller with a variable gain. From an superior is that the implementation is easier and the robust-
academic point of view this showed the necessary complexity ness is better. In this cascade the three control loops work in
of the DO controller. The results were later verified by different time scales with the airflow control being the fastest.
Ingildsen (2002) at the Källby municipal plant in Lund. In This guarantees good performance.
Käppala we also applied the “most open valve” strategy. The
8.2. Control of unit processes in activated sludge
compressor will keep a prescribed pressure in the air system.
For a given pressure it is required to keep a certain air valve
position in order to produce the required airflow rate. From an
We will now look at the most common control loops in the
energy point of view there is a power loss across the valve, if it
activated sludge process. It should be noted that a majority of
is not fully open. Therefore, the pressure setpoint was
the controllers are simple controllers, typically of a PI type. An
controlled so that the most open valve of the parallel channels
interesting record of the theoretical basis and the main results
was almost fully open. This saved a few additional percent of
obtained during the development and full scale experimental
aeration energy.
validation of a new supervisory control strategy for a full scale
The controller complexity is not the only factor that
wastewater treatment plant was described in Ayesa et al.
determines the success of DO control. The sampling rate is
(2006). Eight years work on model simulation, pilot plant
crucial. It is a common misunderstanding that small sampling
experiments and full scale validation were described.
interval will provide a better control. A typical response time
from a change in the airflow to the DO concentration is of the
8.2.1. Nitrogen removal control
order 15e30 min. However, the DO concentration can change
One of the very early works on nitrogen removal control was
much more frequently as a result of mixing phenomena and
presented by Nielsen et al. (1981). The plant was operated as
oxygen uptake rate variations. Unfortunately there is no
an alternating plant (Bio-Denitro). The lengths of the phases in
theoretically satisfactory solution how to choose the sampling
the alternating process and the oxygen setpoint were used as
interval for a control system. It has to be “sufficiently” short so
control variables, based on measurements of ammonia,
that the initial continuous signal can be reconstructed from
nitrate and oxygen. The results were impressive, and the
the time discrete measurements. Still, if the controller tries to
effluent concentrations of ammonia and nitrate could be
change the airflow every minute as a result of DO concentra-
reduced by around 50%, compared to the uncontrolled case.
tion changes the resulting control will be poor. The controller
is simply trying to track changes that can never be compen- 8.2.2. Nitrate recirculation control
sated in the fast time scale. Typically a sampling interval of The nitrate recirculation flow rate has long been identified as
about 3e5 times shorter than the smallest significant time a manipulated variable (Londong, 1992; Olsson and Jeppsson,
constant is a good choice. For the plant with about a 30 min 1994) and ought to be controlled on-line in a pre-
time constant of the DO dynamics this indicates that a good denitrification plant. The goal of the recirculation control is
sampling interval for the air flow changes should be of the order to ensure that nitrate is present throughout the anoxic zone.
8e12 min. However, the DO concentration ought to be Ideally the nitrate concentration at the outlet of the anoxic tank
measured much more frequently. This will allow the DO should be low but non-zero. Yuan et al. (2002b) derived the
measurement values to be filtered before the DO signal is sent conditions for a simple but robust controller. This was later
to the controller. At a plant visit in 2008 we were shown a poor tested in full scale at the Källby plant in Lund (Ingildsen, 2002).
DO control performance with wide swings of the DO concen- Actually, the anoxic zone was big enough to consume all
tration. The sampling interval was only 1 min. By a simple nitrate. The on-line measurements of nitrate and phosphate in
change of the sampling rate to 10 min the performance of the the plant remain one of those happy and exciting moments in
DO control became satisfactory and more than 10% of the the profession. As the nitrate was consumed in the anoxic zone
airflow could be saved. This means a lot of money when the we could monitor how the phosphate concentration immedi-
plant is serving one million people. ately took off. Theory was working in practice!
With the development of nutrient sensors it has been
possible to extend the DO control to allow for an on-line 8.2.3. Return sludge control
adjustment of the level of oxygen supply. For a recirculating The return sludge flow rate can seldom be used for control on
system it means that the appropriate DO setpoint can be an hour-to-hour basis. Basically there are two common prac-
determined by on-line ammonia measurements (Ingildsen, tices for the return sludge flow rate, constant flow rate or ratio
2002; Ingildsen et al., 2002c). Vrec ko et al. (2006) presented control, i.e. the ratio between the return sludge flow rate and
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the influent flow rate is kept constant. The traditional control controllers, where each one of them is a simple PI controller. It
schemes do not calculate how the reactor concentration varies is the structure of them that makes the system innovative. One
or how the settling conditions change. In Olsson and Newell controller manipulates the internal flow rate so as to maximize
(1999) we had an extensive discussion on return sludge the use of the anoxic zone for nitrate reduction. The second
control with the many constraints that have to be considered. controller manipulates the carbon dosage in order to satisfy the
Monitoring the sludge blanket height in a secondary clar- effluent limits. The third controller adjusts the effluent total
ifier is an important measurement for return sludge control. inorganic nitrogen setpoint depending on the effluent crite-
The sludge blanket height in the clarifier should be controlled rion. So far only simulation studies have shown that the
dynamically. For a dry weather inflow, the sludge blanket controller is performing well.
should be reduced prior to the arrival of high nitrogen loads Yuan and Keller (2004) studied the integrated control of
(e.g. morning peaks), and be allowed to build up as soon as the nitrate recirculation and external carbon addition for a pre-
high load is over to treat the nitrate peak using denitrification denitrification biological wastewater treatment system. The
under the sludge blanket. Maintaining a relatively high control structure consisted of four feedback control loops,
blanket in the settler at nights and over weekends signifi- which manipulate the nitrate recirculation and the carbon
cantly improves nitrate removal, primarily due to the recy- dosage flows in a highly coordinated manner such that the
cling of the readily biodegradable COD, which is released by consumption of external carbon is minimised while the
anaerobic hydrolysis under the sludge blanket, from the nitrate discharge limits (based on both grab and composite
settler to the anoxic reactor. However, the solids retention samples) are met. The control system used the measurement
time in the settler should be limited in order to avoid excess of the nitrate concentrations at the end of both the anoxic and
denitrification in the settler, which causes sludge to rise due to the aerobic zones. Distinct from ordinary control systems,
nitrogen gas bubbling, or to avoid significant phosphorus which typically minimise the variation in the controlled
release. During heavy rainfall or storm events, the sludge variables, the actual control system essentially maximises the
blanket should be controlled and solids loading to the settler diurnal variation of the effluent nitrate concentration and
should be minimized. All these aspects were considered by through this maximises the use of influent COD for denitrifi-
Yuan et al. (2002a) and they designed a two-level controller to cation, thus minimising the requirement for external carbon
implement the above control strategy. source. The proposed system had not yet been implemented
Lynggaard-Jensen et al. (2010) extended the methods to the in any full scale system.
fact that most wastewater treatment plants have several
secondary clarifiers. In practice it is a well known stumbling 8.2.5. Chemical dosage control
block to obtain an equal distribution of the load to the each Chemical precipitation processes for P removal are a lot faster
clarifier. If the problem is neglected then it is obvious that the than the biological reactions and can be assumed to occur
capacity of the clarifiers is not used. Furthermore the return instantaneously when compared to the time scale of the
sludge is often too large and too variable, which results in variations in wastewater flow rate and composition. As
a varying and too low suspended solids concentration in the a result a disturbance can quickly be dealt with through
return sludge. Lynggaard-Jensen et al. (2010) approached the feedback control. With a phosphate sensor in place, excellent
solution in two steps. First the total return sludge is calculated control performance can be achieved using a simple feedback
and then the distribution between the clarifiers is performed. controller. Ingildsen (2002) performed feedback control
Sludge blanket measurements are key ingredients of the experiments for post-precipitation at the Källby plant. The
control schemes. retention time in the flocculation chamber is short, typically
around one hour. This is considerably smaller than the time
8.2.4. External carbon dosage rate constant of the variation in influent load of phosphate to the
The goal of the control strategy of external carbon dosage is to chemical step. Hence, it was convenient to control the phos-
maintain a low nitrate concentration in the anoxic zone by phate precipitation by means of feedback control based on an
controlling the external flow rate of the carbon source. in situ phosphate sensor located in the effluent of the floc-
Lindberg and Carlsson (1996c) derived an adaptive carbon flow culation chamber. The influent phosphate concentration to
rate controller for a pre-denitrifying pilot scale plant. The the chemical step varied from about 1 to 3 mg/l, while the
results of the control showed that the nitrate concentration target value was 0.5 mg/l. The amount of dosage chemicals
could be kept close to a desired setpoint. During the experi- could be decreased by more than 35% comparing a flow
ment the carbon flow rate was automatically varied to keep proportional dosage to a feedback-based dosage. The payback
the nitrate concentration at a constant low-level. From the time for a phosphate analyzer was consequently very small, in
experiences it was obvious that a low effluent nitrate this case less than half a year. With today’s sensor prices the
concentration using an excessive carbon flow rate is hard to payback would be considerably shorter. Also Devisscher et al.
achieve without an automatic control strategy. Yuan et al. (2002) reported successful control of the chemical dosage for P
(1997) achieved similar results on a full scale wastewater removal using on-line phosphate measurements.
treatment plant.
In her PhD thesis Ingildsen (2002, Section 8.3) proposed 8.3. Microbial population optimisation as a result of
a control structure for external carbon dosage control. The control
control of external carbon has to be coordinated with the
internal nitrate recirculation. The carbon dosage all the time Typical for all control of wastewater treatment is that macro-
has to be minimized to save costs. The system consists of three scopic tools (such as valves, compressors, motors, pumps) are
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used to change flow rates and concentrations. This will influ- required is often lower than what can be reliably measured by
ence the microscopic behaviour and the various metabolisms a DO probe. Instead a pH probe has been used to control the
of microorganisms. It is apparent that a close cooperation pH in a narrow range using aeration.
between engineers and microbiologists is of great importance Glycogen accumulating organisms (GAOs) are a bacterial
to further understand the impact and the potential of control. group capable of competing with polyphosphate accumu-
For example, it is obvious that DO control will affect not only lating organisms (PAOs) for anaerobic VFA uptake in EBPR
the DO concentration in the short time frame but also the systems. Like PAOs, GAOs take up VFAs anaerobically and
microbial population in the long run. Consequently it is convert them to poly-b-hydroxyalkanoates (PHAs). However,
insufficient to consider the short time horizon but a good long- GAOs do not perform the anaerobic P release and aerobic P
term performance has to be guaranteed. This can be done by uptake transformations of PAOs, and hence do not contribute
optimizing the microbial community and the properties of the to P removal. There are indications that pH is an important
sludge. This was recognized by Yuan and Blackall (2002) that factor that affects the competition between PAOs and GAOs
proposed that sludge population optimisation should be added with a higher pH being more favourable for PAOs. The exact
as a new dimension to the control of biological wastewater mechanism is not entirely clear. The growth of GAOs can be
treatment. Three important aspects of microbial population minimized through pH control. An excellent review of some of
optimization were emphasized by the authors: these microbial population optimisation methods is given by
Yuan et al. (2008).
 Selecting the most desirable species for a specific function:
Different species possess different growth properties and 8.4. Control of anaerobic digesters
possible tolerance to stress arising from disturbances to the
plant. There is an incentive to try to obtain the species with Anaerobic digesters (AD) are nonlinear and highly dynamic
the most desirable properties. This is particularly relevant systems. The advantages of AD are obvious: formation of
for nitrifiers. useful by-products such as biogas and a humus-like slurry
 Controlling the growth of unwanted or undesirable microor- suited for soil amendment. Still the AD process frequently
ganisms in the system: In biological nutrient removal it is of suffers from process instability. In the early 1970s the oper-
great interest to control the growth of nitrite-oxidising ating practice consisted only of sets of empirical rules and the
bacteria (NOB) and glycogen accumulating organisms need for control strategies was recognized early by John F.
(GAOs). In the absence of NOB nitrogen removal would occur Andrews et al.. John, together with his PhD student Steven
via the nitrite pathway NHþ -
4 /NO2 /N2 with much lower Graef, developed a dynamical model of the AD process
carbon source demand for the denitrification and oxygen (Andrews, 1969; Andrews and Graef, 1971) that was applied in
demand for the nitrification. In enhanced biological phos- computer simulations to test various control actions (Busby
phorus removal (EBPR) systems, the GAOs have been iden- and Andrews, 1973). It was well recognized that the model
tified as unwanted organisms. and the control strategies were not complete but were
 Optimising microbial properties: There is strong evidence that considered of qualitative value for both the digester design
the same organisms may have different kinetics and/or and operation.
stoichiometry when different operational conditions are The most apparent measurements were: volatile acids
provided. The growth kinetics as well as the yield coeffi- concentration, pH, alkalinity, gas flow rate, and gas compo-
cients of the microorganisms selected should be optimised sition. At this time there was considerable speculation as to
in process operation and control. which variable, or combination of variables, would be the best
indicator of impending digester failure. Graef and Andrews
The NOB could be eliminated from the activated sludge (1974) showed that this depended on the type of overloading
using aeration length control in intermittently operated of the digester. The control variables available included
systems and DO control in continuous flow systems. Nitrogen a temporary halt or decrease in the feeding (variable speed
removal via the nitrite pathway was first implemented in the drives were not considered at this time!), addition of a base
SHARON process (Single reactor High activity Ammonia such as lime, or dilution of the digester content. Andrews and
Removal Over Nitrite) as reported by Hellinga et al. (1998). The Graef recognized that one of the best control actions for the
process was particularly interesting for nitrogen removal from prevention of failure by an overload of toxic materials was the
wastewaters with a low C/N ratio. Nitrogen removal from recycle of concentrated sludge from a second stage digester
wastewater via nitrite was obtained using aeration phase using the rate of methane production as a feedback signal.
length control in a sequential batch reactor combined with This kind of control action had been proposed already in the
step feed of wastewater (Lemaire et al., 2008). Aeration was 1930s (Buswell, 1939). In the 1950s Bill Torpey proposed ways
switched off as soon as ammonia oxidation was completed. A to increase the maximum feed rate which a digester can
fraction of the wastewater that the SBR received over a cycle handle. From pilot plant studies (Torpey, 1955) he demon-
was added to facilitate denitrification. The end-point of strated that stable operation can be attained at residence
ammonia oxidation was detected from the on-line measured times as low as 3 days, while design criteria in the 1970s called
pH and oxygen uptake rate (OUR). Ma et al. (2009) investigated for residence times in the range of 20e30 days. It was obvious
the nitrogen removal from domestic wastewater via the nitrite that applying control in AD systems could result in substantial
pathway in a continuous wastewater treatment plant by reductions in the required volumes of new digesters and
controlling the DO concentration. Aeration control can not permit existing digesters to meet increased demands without
always readily be achieved using a DO sensor as the DO level required plant expansion.
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The highly dynamic character of the AD process becomes assigned to each type of extreme event and used to calculate
apparent as the process is operated close to its maximum appropriate local controller setpoints by using steady-state
capacity. As a consequence, linear time-invariant controllers and dynamic predictions. The performance of a relatively
are not adequate. To bring the process towards maximum simple steady-state supervisory controller is compared with
biogas production while ensuring stable operation at a high that of a model predictive supervisory controller.
organic loading rate will require a more advanced control. In
recent years there has been a lot of research and development 8.5.3. Fuzzy control
on monitoring and control of the AD process. Various control Wastewater systems are not only nonlinear and time-variable
strategies have been proposed, notably by Steyer et al. (1999), but some aspects are generally ill defined, such as microor-
Liu et al. (2004), Alcaraz-Gonzáles et al. (2005), Bernard et al. ganism conditions and visual observations. They can not
(2005), and Lardon et al. (2005). J.P. Steyer has written an easily be modelled by equations, nor even be represented by
excellent overview of control of AD processes in Chapter 7 of straightforward logic such as if-then-else rules. This is the
Olsson et al. (2005) and in Steyer et al. (2006). In particular background against which Lotfi Zadeh developed the fuzzy
Steyer describes an innovative work on interval-based logic in the 1960s. The name fuzzy is a misnomer since the
control. In our research (Liu et al., 2006) we found that the logic is firmly grounded in mathematical theory. An operator
controller itself and the control structure can be quite unso- may be readily controlled by humans without recourse to
phisticated in the sense that a variable gain controller can mathematical models, algorithms or a deep understanding of
achieve great improvement of the operation. The system the physical process involved. The operator generates quali-
efficiency is maintained while process stability is ensured. tative actions or responses to given situations that are loosely
parameterized by the operating conditions as well as by their
8.5. Other control strategies perceived experiential “model”. Fuzzy logic can be regarded as
a control methodology that mimics human thinking by
One of the key challenges is to formulate the goal of the incorporating the uncertainty inherent in all physical
control. In this section we will describe some strategies that systems. Strangely enough fuzzy logic did not appeal very
have been used in activated sludge control to formulate such much to Western researchers, despite the fact that Zadeh
goals. lived in the USA. However, Japanese control people were eager
to adapt to the methodology. In discussions with colleagues
8.5.1. Hedging point strategy from Japan I found that the fuzzy logic is well suited to mimic
One challenge in industrial automation is to adjust the the Japanese language, while our Western languages often
production level so as to keep the most profitable inventory. wish to express events much more crisply. Fuzzy control
There has to be a compromise between the cost for customer applied to wastewater treatment was taking off in the 1990s,
waiting time (which would require producing “a little more”) and the Hitachi Research Laboratory in Japan made note-
and the cost for storing unsold products. This is called worthy contributions. Watanabe et al. (1993) applied fuzzy
a hedging point strategy (Olsson and Rosen, 2005). In a waste- logic for image processing of microscopic flocs and Enbutsu
water treatment plant the objective can be formulated as et al. (1993) applied fuzzy control to recognize and to control
a weighted sum of cost of operation and effluent quality. an activated sludge plant under a wide range of operating
Hedging control can be applied in wastewater treatment plant conditions. Many other researchers have used fuzzy control to
as a way to be able to reject future event disturbances, such as operate relatively well-defined processes. If a dynamical
large variations in the ammonium load, drop in temperature, model can be defined to describe the system it can be shown
the presence of toxic/inhibitory compounds in the influent etc. that the fuzzy controller is nothing else than a nonlinear
Hedging is a risk minimisation tool, with the aim to “reduce conventional controller. Somewhere the control action based
one’s risk of loss on a bet or speculation by compensating on the fuzzy rules has to be “defuzzyfied”, which means that
transactions on the other side”. In wastewater treatment plant the rule has to be translated to a sharp action.
operation hedging can be applied by choosing a higher level of
ammonium removal to increase the amount of nitrifiers, thus
ensuring a safety margin of nitrifiers in the system. This is 9. Benchmarking control systems
a sensible way to introduce disturbance rejection ability into
a multi criterion performance index. In practice, this is done by Most controllers and control structures reported have been
deciding upon an internal effluent ammonium criterion. Some suggested based on simulation studies or pilot scale plants. To
results based on simulation studies using the ASM1 model compare two different controllers in a large plant may be
were reported by Ingildsen et al. (2002b). a very difficult task. The plant conditions are often quite
variable. One controller may have been used during the winter
8.5.2. Controlling extreme events and the other one during the summer. Operator experiences
As discussed in 6.3 an extreme operational state can be may have improved between the test periods. These kinds of
detected, for example by multivariate analysis and sometimes conditions motivated to develop a benchmark simulation
by direct observation of only one variable such as extreme platform that could be used as a test bench for various
flow rates. Rosen et al. (2002) presented a framework for controllers and control strategies. The idea of benchmarking
extreme event control based on the fact that different opera- was brought up by Bengt Carlsson, Sweden at the ICA
tional conditions manifest themselves as clusters in a multi- conference in 1993. This was a direct inspiration of efforts
variate measurement space. A reduced system model is made by the Control System Society in the USA with control
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applied to flight control systems. The idea was adopted by the emissions (Flores-Alsina et al., 2011). Nitrous oxide (N2O)
Respirometry Task Group and the first ideas on benchmarking production in activated sludge systems has received a lot of
were presented at the next ICA conference in 1997 (Spanjers interest due to its greenhouse gas (GHG) potential (Porro et al.,
et al., 1998b). The effluent criteria were already published in 2011). Models from literature were implemented within the
Vanrolleghem et al. (1996b) and the benchmarking ideas were plant-wide BSM2 model to predict nitrification and denitrifi-
presented in Spanjers et al. (1998a). cation pathway N2O emissions.
The work with a benchmark system for evaluating control Many control approaches have been tested and verified by
strategies was further developed in 1997 as part of the Euro- using these protocols:
pean COST 624/682 programme (Copp, 2002) and continued as
an IWA Task Group under the leadership of Ulf Jeppsson, Lund  Feedback controllers of P, PI or PID type (Ma et al., 2006a) and
University. The group has been working during the last decade fuzzy controllers (Ma et al., 2006b);
and developed a platform to be used for all kinds of tests of  Feedback/Feedforward control structures (Stare et al., 2007);
controllers ( The useful-  Model-based predictive controllers (Zarrad et al., 2004;
ness of the models BSM1 and BSM2 e based on the Activated Holenda et al., 2008).
sludge models (Henze et al., 2000) and the Anaerobic Digester
model no 1 (Batstone et al., 2002) e has been illustrated by Only few practical implementations of advanced control-
more than 300 papers based on these platforms. The BSM2 lers in full scale WWTPs have accompanied the benchmark
model (Jeppsson et al., 2007; Nopens et al., 2010) is a plant- efforts (Ayesa et al., 2006). To complete a full scale imple-
wide model, including both wastewater treatment in the mentation the control algorithm design has to be combined
activated sludge model and sludge treatment in thickeners with suitable instruments and actuators, other parts of real
and anaerobic digestion (Rosen et al., 2006a). time software, such as measurement databases, data
The benchmarking platform has been used not only for screening and filtering, parameter estimation as well as
control system testing but also for monitor algorithm testing. a multitude of practical aspects.
Like the testing of control methods there were no objective
way to compare the success of proposed monitoring methods.
Many monitoring methods had been validated on plant 10. Control of water supply systems
specific data that were not available for others. Often this data
sequence was too limited in time. Work was initiated in 2003 Most of the ICA development has taken place in wastewater
to create an extension of the BSM1 model and an approach treatment systems, and the control and automation of water
was presented by Rosen et al. (2004a). The time horizon had to supply systems did not have the same kind of urgency in the
be extended and a realistic set of both external influent water- early conferences. No water supply paper was presented in
related disturbances and internal disturbances, such as the first ICA conference in 1973. In all the following confer-
sensor and actuator failures, were modelled (Gernaey et al., ences drinking water supply has been a minor topic in
2006; Rosen et al., 2008). The Long-Term Benchmark Simula- competition with wastewater treatment. Still, as remarked by
tion Model No. 1 (BSM1_LT) was proposed as an extension to van Schagen et al. (2010) there are some features of a drinking
BSM1. An increase of the time horizon from 1 week to 1 year of water system that need to be particularly considered:
the time horizon gave a more realistic framework for evalu-
ation and comparison of both monitoring and control strate-  The production flow has to be controlled according to the
gies. Recent results of monitoring evaluations can be found in consumption of drinking water.
Corominas et al. (2010).  The buffer capacity in the treatment plant is mainly used to
The simulation models are freely available on several level the daily consumption pattern.
simulation platforms, both commercial wastewater treatment  There is no possibility to discharge any off-spec water; all
simulators (GPS-X, SIMBA, WEST) and for general plat- water that is produced must meet the water quality criteria.
forms (MATLAB/SIMULINK) as well as a stand-alone  Due to the tight coupling between the unit processes the
FORTRAN implementation. Other simulator platforms, such quality control becomes a plant-wide control problem.
as STOAT, BioWin, AQUASIM, JASS, SciLab and EFOR,
have also been used for less complete versions of the bench- In the 1977 ICA conference 6 out of 95 papers considered
mark. The work of the Task Group is getting published in instrumentation and monitoring in water supply systems.
Gernaey et al. (2011). Still the current BSM systems do not Typically, measurements in surface waters of DO, tempera-
include all desired features of a system that can be used for ture, redox, pH, conductivity, chloride, and ammonia-N were
evaluating control and monitoring systems. Jeppsson et al. applied. A feasibility study was made in the UK (Fallside et al.,
(2011) presented a number of possible extensions to the plat- 1977) to provide short-term forecasting of consumption and
form, including possibilities for long-term evaluations, control of the pumping to obtain a minimum cost of the
extending the BSM2 model with sewer and receiving water pumping operation. A computer control system for the water
models and more unit processes within the treatment plant supply of Yokohama city, Japan, was reported in Kanbayashi
itself. Already new models for nitrogen removal e notably the et al. (1977). Water demand was predicted and the distribu-
combined SHARON-Anammox process e (Dapena-Mora et al., tion of water with sufficient pressure and quality was sched-
2004), membrane reactors (Maere et al., 2011), and bio-P uled. Furthermore a process computer (Hitachi with 32
removal have been reported (Gernaey and Jørgensen, 2004) kwords core memory and 768 kwords magnetic drum
as well as an extended benchmark for greenhouse gas memory) was used for digital control of the dosage of
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chemicals in the water treatment plant. Control and operation community. The authors presented a model of the water
of water treatment systems were considered in another three treatment plant that would form the basis for control of the
papers. At the 1981 conference only one paper related to water pellet softening process step. The control relies on the
supply was presented discussing flow rate measurement computation of the best possible flow distribution over several
based on ultra-sonic modulation. parallel pellet reactors. The control methods were later
Controlling the supply pressure in water distribution implemented in the Weesperkarspel treatment plant in the
systems was presented already in 1985 (Shimauchi et al., Netherlands (van Schagen et al., 2010). Further results on
1985). The authors developed a method to calculate the best plant-wide modelling and control were presented by van der
operating point by applying network flow theory to optimize Helm et al. (2009) and new full scale implementations and
the pressures and flow rates in the network based on the further methodology developments are described in Worm
water demand. Based on the obtained desired values a feed- et al. (2011). The results indicated significant savings of
back control system from the actual pressures and flow rates energy and chemicals.
adjusted the valves. The system was in operation in Taka-
matsu City in Japan. The progress in network calculations had
simply been possible by the computer development. Then, 11. Plant-wide control
another reminder that “nothing is new under the sun”: today
there is a lot of discussion about variable pressure in water We have seen several times that it is often not sufficient to
distribution systems. This was already described and imple- control each unit process in isolation. The decomposition of
mented in two UK applications in 1985 (Olner, 1985; Parker, complex systems is a convenient way of designing and oper-
1985). The telemetry systems made it possible to remotely ating control systems. But eventually we must step back and
control the valve settings in water distribution zones. The take a helicopter view of the whole plant, or even a larger
valves were adjusted to give minimum working pressure at system. We may talk about plant-wide, system-wide or inte-
the lowest pressure point of the distribution zone. Such grated control when not only the various unit processes of
a variable pressure control system resulted in savings in a wastewater treatment plant but also the sewer and some-
pumping costs and less leakages. Today the telemetry times the receiving water are included. Whatever size of the
systems are replaced by GSM or 3 G mobile telephone system we have to define its boundaries, so that we can define
networks for the communication between the pressure external and internal events. Depending on the system size
sensors and the remotely controlled valves. Furthermore, we will have different degrees of freedom and each system
variable speed pumping is a proven technology today and can definition will determine what we can manipulate.
provide further energy reduction. An important by-product of It was recognized already at the first ICA conference (see
the variable pressure control is the decrease of leakages due to 2.1) and later documented in Beck (1976) that a plant-wide
smaller pressure variations in the distribution network. perspective has to be applied in order to achieve the highest
Another four papers at the 1985 conference discussed control possible efficiency in the operation. The operation of the
of water treatment works. So, out of 120 presentations at the primary settler will influence the treatment both in the acti-
ICA conference in 1985 there were 7 papers on water distri- vated sludge unit and the anaerobic treatment of the sludge.
bution networks and another 7 devoted to water treatment Chemical precipitation can be performed by dosing before or
operation. after the reactors or in the reactor itself. The many recycles
In the 1990 conference the water supply control was very make the complex couplings obvious, such as the return
little observed, and only a couple of papers discussed control sludge, nitrate recycle or the recycling of the supernatant from
issues. Four papers out of 57 were devoted to water distribu- the anaerobic digester to the influent of the wastewater
tion at the 1993 ICA conference. In Tamada et al. (1993) a new treatment. The interactions demand that we look at the global
method for predicting the water demand was presented. In effects of the chosen disturbance rejection strategies, with
the 1997 ICA conference only one paper (Oshima and Kosuda, a particular emphasis on recycle streams (Olsson and Newell,
1998) focused on the water supply system, presenting a new 1999).
method to predict water demand by applying chaos theory (a The sequential relationship between the sewer, the
variation of fuzzy control). The prediction was used to operate wastewater treatment plant and the receiving water is
a water reservoir. Two different control goals were identified. obvious. For the sewer operation the goal is to minimise the
If the discharges from the reservoir are made according to the amount of combined sewer overflow (CSO) (Brueck et al.,
variations in demand, then the water level is allowed to vary. 1981; Schilling, 1989). The aim of the control of the WWTP
However, if the reservoir should be ready at any time for is to satisfy the effluent requirements while minimizing the
emergencies, then the level has to be kept at a high level all operational costs. During storm conditions these goals may
the time. The control has to balance between the two needs. be difficult to reach. It is obvious that the control of a sewer
The water supply contributions were still in a small system isolated from the WWTP operation will lead to sub-
minority at the ICA 2001 conference. Only one paper optimal solutions. If the goal of the sewer operation is to
describing a water supply system was presented, but no new minimise the CSO, then the WWTP may soon be overloaded.
control ideas were put forward. Ideas on the design and We made some experiments with primary pumping control
operation of pressurized pipeline systems, on water quality in the 1980s at the Käppala wastewater treatment plants
monitoring, and on leakage detection were presented at the outside Stockholm. The purpose was to avoid sudden
ICA 2005. Van Schagen et al. (2006) provided a new contribu- hydraulic disturbances by equalizing the influent flow rate as
tion of control of drinking water treatment plants to the ICA much as possible. However, we soon realized that what we
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had gained in the flow equalization was lost in the first flush  Return sludge flow rate: The return sludge flow rate is strongly
disturbances, once the flow had to be increased. Another coupled to its concentration. This control aims at stabilising
aspect of the plant-wide approach is to calculate where to the suspended solids concentration in the return sludge
bring the organic material: to minimize sludge trans- stream and is based on measurements of the suspended
portation, to produce biogas, to make sure that denitrification solids and the influent flow rate.
is working.
The control of any complex system needs a structure. This The system has been successful to minimise the effect of
means that the overall goal of the control and operation has to large load variations (Nielsen and Önnerth, 1995). The total
be defined rather than just develop control loops for each effluent N has been decreased significantly. At the same time
individual unit process. In the control science a lot of research compressor energy has been saved by using up carbon in the
efforts have been made to develop methods for plant-wide denitrification and the biological P removal. Also the chemical
control (Larsson and Skogestad, 2000). The controlled and dosage could be significantly decreased by keeping up the
manipulated variables (control handles) have to be identified. biological P removal. The results of advanced control have
The possible (and desired) measurements should be found. been remarkable. Based on experiences during 15 years with
Then the structure of interconnecting measurements, set- about 50 wastewater systems Thomsen and Önnerth (2009)
points and manipulated variables has to be selected. Finally reported general results of advanced control. Operational
the control algorithms (PID, predictive controllers etc.) have to savings are noted as reductions in power consumption for
be chosen. As remarked by Stephanopoulos and Ng (2000) the aeration (5e25%), power consumption for internal flow such
plant-wide control problem possesses certain characteristics as return sludge and internal nitrate recirculation (25e50%),
that are not encountered in the design of control systems for dosage of chemicals (20e100%), and dosage of external
unit processes: carbon, if any (30e100%). Better control can also result in
design improvements: the aeration volume may be decreased
 The variables to be controlled by a plant-wide control by 10e25% and the secondary settling volume by 25e50%.
system are not as clearly or as easily defined as for single The energy issue is another apparent reason to consider
units; integrated control. In Olsson and Newell (1999), Ch. 14, we
 Local control actions in one unit may have long-range discussed the energy issue in water: “The energy issue will be
effects throughout the plant. We have seen examples in 8.3; increasingly important in the future society. There is a signif-
 The plant-wide control problem is significantly more icant indirect environmental impact due to the use of elec-
complex than that for the individual units. trical power, heat and chemicals. Since energy production,
transmission and distribution are related to environmental
The central issue to be resolved in plant-wide control is the consequences, there will always be an incentive to save
translation of implicit plant-wide operating objectives to sets energy. Naturally, when comparing various systems for
of feedback-controlled variables of individual control loops. wastewater handling, the accumulated energy consumption
The supervisory control, called STAR (Superiour Tuning and of the total system has to be considered. This includes
Reporting), was presented for an international audience in transportation of the wastewater, energy demand for treat-
1993 (Lynggaard-Jensen and Nielsen, 1993) and was commer- ment, the use of heat content in the water, and gas produc-
cialized by Krüger AS, Denmark. The system automatically tion. By looking at isolated subsystems from an energy point
calculates the setpoints for the individual control loops of the of view it is easy to obtain false solutions, and sub-
system. If the supervisory control system is unable to calcu- optimisation has to be carefully avoided.” The energy issue
late a new setpoint, then the setpoints are kept constant by was, and still is, a major incentive why we have to consider
the low-level control system. There are five supervisory plant-wide control and operation. We also wrote about the
control modules implemented in the system: end user aspect: “A lot of water e and warm water e is used to
keep us clean and healthy. Only a minute fraction of the heat
 Phase control: The phase control determines the switching content of all this water is exploited, for example in heat
between the Biodenitro phases as a function of ammonia pumps. If the heat content could be better utilised in cold
and nitrate levels in the biological reactors. The phase climates in combination with the digester gas, then the
control is coupled to the dissolved oxygen setpoint control. wastewater treatment plants would be energy producers
 Dissolved oxygen setpoint: This control and the phase control instead of consumers, for example to supply base heating in
serve to match the relative aerated nitrifying and the non- district heating systems.” This is now a “hot” issue indicated
aerated denitrifying times to the current load of the plant. by conferences on Water and Energy. IWA had its first one in
The dissolved oxygen setpoint during the aerated phase is 2009 and many other organizations have put a lot of attention
adjusted according to the ammonia concentration level. The to the topic.
setpoint control is also used to save some carbon for the use All integration means some kind of compromise. If there
in the anoxic reaction and for the biological P removal. were no interactions, then the individual optimisation of each
 Pure oxygen addition: During extreme loads the aeration may subprocess would be the best strategy. In the combined sewer
not be sufficient and pure oxygen can be added. The control and WWTP operation the individual system operations are
decision is based on measurements of ammonia, dissolved sometimes in conflict, so the overall goal of minimising the
oxygen and estimates of the oxygen uptake rate. load to the receiving water has to overrule the individual goals
 Chemical dosage: The metal dosing is a local control loop (Bauwens et al., 1996; Rauch and Harremoës, 1996a; Schütze
based on the phosphate and flow rate measurements. et al., 1999). An early approach to integrated control was
w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4 1613

published by Rauch and Harremoës (1996b). An example of the has access to the database to infer the possible operating state
compromises between the sewer and wastewater treatment of the complete plant. At this level two knowledge-based
operation is shown in Table 3. A sewer control to minimize the reasoning modules are incorporated. One of them contains
sewer overflow may increase the load to the wastewater a heuristic knowledge of the process and the other uses the
treatment plant. This will most probably influence the plant experience from previous similar and particular operating
performance negatively. This was also addressed by Rauch situations. The suggested strategies are sent upwards to the
and Harremoës (1999), Benedetti et al. (2009) and third level containing dynamic simulation software used for
Vanrolleghem et al. (2005). Since the overall objective can still evaluation and prediction. From this level the setpoints of the
not be defined in concrete terms, the operators seem to be unit process controllers are adjusted. The plant-wide control
cautious to embark on the idea of integrated control system had been implemented at a treatment plant (about
approaches. In order to make the plant-wide and integrated 130,000 equivalent inhabitants) in Granolles, in the Besòs river
control come up on the agenda, we need to focus on a wider basin of Spain. I was inspired to see this approach. My
spectrum of problem areas. This includes structuring large conclusion and hope was that plant-wide control would be the
control systems, organising automation structures, and dominating theme in the ICA research and development
modularising large control systems. In the survey reported by during the next ten years (Olsson, 2002). Unfortunately I was
Jeppsson et al. (2002) many countries replied that integrated too eager and optimistic. It will take much longer.
control might be the main focus, but not until 2010. The concept of plant-wide control has many interpreta-
Integrated control of sewer and wastewater treatment tions (Olsson and Jeppsson, 2005). In some sense the infor-
plants was announced as one of the key topics in the ICA 2001 mation between the various unit operations of the plant or an
conference, yet there were hardly enough papers to cover infrastructure are interconnected. A plant real time computer
a single session. The reason for this became clear during the will play a key role to make plant-wide control possible. Many
conference: groundbreaking theoretical studies have been manufacturers and plant operation people refer to “plant-
made and further theory development is no longer considered wide” as the ability to communicate between the plant parts
interesting. However, to make the next step and to implement e but this is not what we mean here with plant-wide control.
at least some part of e control in the total system in reality The integrated computer system, however, gives the neces-
proves to be a very tedious task. System-wide control is difficult sary information infrastructure for such control. Integration
since the interactions between the various system units have to aims at minimizing the impact on the receiving water, while
be taken into consideration (Rauch et al., 2002). Tools to handle ensuring a better resource utilisation. The system resilience is
various scenarios have to be developed and relevant perfor- an important factor. This includes its ability to attenuate
mance indices must be defined. However, a major obstacle disturbances and reflects its sensitivity to major disturbances
seems to have more to do with data (assessment, management, or even purposeful and harmful attacks. In the integrated
and analysis) and administration than with control algorithm approach the ultimate goal is to formulate a criterion for the
issues. receiving water and its ecological quality while satisfying
One distinguished plant-wide approach was presented in various economic and technical constraints. There is a great
the ICA conference in 2001, by Rodriguez-Roda et al. (2002). challenge to relate this performance to the plant effluent and
The authors recognized that wastewater treatment plants are possible sewer overflow. We need performance measures of
clear examples of complex and multi-faceted environmental the plant operation that relate effluent quality to the resources
systems. A successful plant-wide control can not be based on that are needed to obtain it, such as energy, chemicals, and
a single technique. Even if control engineering, sensor tech- other material and operating costs. Multi-criteria optimiza-
nology and computer systems are advanced the integrated tion is one avenue and the use of life cycle assessment tools is
operation of wastewater systems requires more. The authors another. Much remains to be done, but promising research
defined three operational levels. On the low-level (the PLC has been done, such as the EU research project CD4WC (2005).
level) all sensor information is gathered and structured into Models are being developed to find strategies to calculate the
a database. Here all the unit operations are handled, either by maximum WWTP loading according to continuous moni-
automatic or manual control. The next level in the hierarchy toring and prediction of the operational state. One example is

Table 3 e Examples of objectives, measurements and control handles for a combined sewer-wastewater treatment system
operation (from Olsson and Jeppsson, 2005).
Partial aim Measurements Control handles

Sewer system  Minimize upstream overflow  Rain  Pumping stations

 Utilize basins for most polluted  Levels  Adjustable weirs
water  Flow rates  Basins
Wastewater treatment  To treat as much wastewater as  Flow rates (inlet, outlet, return  Recycle flow rates
plant possible during and after rainfall sludge, recycles)  ATS control (sedimentation
 Reduce hydraulic load and  Suspended solids (aeration tanks in aeration tanks)
sludge load in secondary sedi- and return sludge)  Bypass pumping
mentation tanks  Sludge blanket
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maximising the nitrification capacity in the activated sludge effluent requirements at all times. Often plant expansions
process, depending on the load to the system. Some full scale could be delayed as a result of better control, thus saving a lot of
results are reported by Rosen et al. (2004b, 2006b). money. Today the energy issue is more and more emphasized.
A plant-wide control system will assume that all the The water and wastewater industry is an important energy
different unit processes are controlled locally. The interaction user. In a country like Sweden our industry consumes about 1%
between different parts of the plant is considered by the of the national electrical energy and in other countries it can be
computation of suitable setpoints for the local controllers. The as high as 5e10%. We should be able to decrease our electrical
sewer control system will control the flow rate in the various energy consumption significantly and save both operational
parts of the sewer system using the information from water costs and greenhouse gas emission. In all of this ICA is a key
level and flow rate sensors as well as rain gauges. The technology.
coupling between the sewer system and treatment plant
control is achieved when the plant influent flow rate can be
predicted and manipulated. 12.1. Technical driving forces
The goal of integrated control is not to build up increas-
ingly complex ICA systems. Quite the opposite: an ICA system There is no doubt that the computer development since the
has to be in a systematic way so as to deal with the intricate 1970s has been a major technical driving force. Given the
couplings of a complex process. These couplings appear limited core (primary) memory of a computer of the 1970s
between competing biological processes, between unit most of the real time programming had to be done in
processes, between fast and slow reactions, between sewer assembly language in order to be memory and time efficient.
systems and treatment plants and between the treatment Naturally the humanecomputer interface could only have the
plants and the receiving water. Integrated control is still in its simplest graphics. Efforts were made to standardize real time
infancy. The necessary condition of having a plant-wide software but the market for this was still very limited. To store
computer information system is often satisfied. Now opera- historical data required careful planning, since a computer
tion and control has to take advantage of the system-wide disk still had a size of the order 1e2 Mbyte. Information
information and integrate the operation of one unit with technology is now a mature and pervasive technology. Most
other interacting system units. I still believe that this devel- treatment plants have several computers installed and the
opment will take place. second or third generation of computer control software is
being used. Still many of these systems are under-utilised in
plant operation outside the data acquisition and the basic
12. Driving forces control loops. Off-line computers are generally used for little
more than simple calculations and data visualisation using
At the 1997 ICA conference we summarized the Scandinavian spreadsheets and report preparation using word processors,
experiences of operation and control of wastewater treatment largely because of the wide familiarity with this software
(Olsson et al., 1998). In particular we noted many different (WEF, 2011).
driving forces advancing ICA, confirming what representa- New sensor development and more “low-level” instru-
tives from 14 different countries had expressed at the 1993 ICA mentation provide large quantities of data. Still the capa-
conference (Olsson, 1993). Similar experiences were verified bility of computers to extract patterns (useful information)
by other presenters at the conference. Among the technical is not commonly utilised past simple graphing. As we have
driving forces were mentioned: discussed in 6.3, with the inevitable adoption of nutrient
and quality sensors the ability to extract patterns from this
 The advancement of computing power and computer data becomes more valuable. Information technology is not
installations; commonly used to encapsulate process knowledge,
 The development of on-line instrumentation; knowledge about how the process works and how to best
 The data acquisition software; operate it. Process knowledge is typically built up from the
 In-plant communication and the establishment of Internet; experience of operators and engineers but all too often
 The increased plant complexity towards biological nutrient leaves with them when they move on. If process knowl-
removal; edge can be encapsulated, then not only is it retained but
 The model development. the computer can assist decision-making in plant
The economic driving forces had been improved with We often talk about the electronic revolution, but much
a clear interest from the utilities to better utilize the resources. more seldom we recognize another revolution of almost equal
This means motivations for better DO control, more efficient importance, the power electronics revolution. In broad terms,
chemical precipitation, better use of internal carbon in power electronics control the flow of electric power via elec-
sewages for N and P removal, interaction between design and tronic power devices. Of importance for the water and
control as well as unmanned operation during nights and wastewater industry is applications for electronic motor
weekends. controllers, in other words, for all pumps and compressors.
There are apparent driving forces for instrumentation and Today variable speed drives is a proven technology, from
control. The primary purpose of ICA is to operate the plant small power units to MW size motors. This means that
towards the defined goal despite disturbances. This will make smooth speed control of pumps and compressors is not only
the operation consistent in the sense that it satisfies the technically reliable but also economically feasible.
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12.2. Regulatory driving forces quality and quantity or tightened effluent quality require-
ments (Olsson et al., 2005; WEF, 2011). However, the “human
It is obvious that the driving forces for ICA have increased factor” in successful operation is often neglected but possibly
with the plant complexity. A plant with only carbon removal creates more problems than technology (Olsson and Newell,
does not require the same kind of control as a complex 1998). The lack of or misleading incentives often leads to
nutrient removal plant. Still DO control was early recognized poor plant efficiency and sub-optimal effluent quality. In 2.4
to be profitable. In a nutrient removal plant there are so many one of our early failures was described. Without effective
other reasons for control. The processes compete for the same incentives, the sustained application of a control concept or
oxygen and carbon sources, and more recirculation loops add any other optimization measure might be jeopardized. To
to the complexity. formulate such criteria is one of the great challenges, both in
The effluent standards have been tightened. Yearly and design and in operation.
monthly averages have been replaced by spot checks. A major If the implementation of the new control systems is
challenge is to develop measures, which are giving continuous a success, the plant manager will earn praise for the reduced
incentives for improvements and not only work as a one-time costs, but the operators merely have more work to do (with
incentive. A good incentive structure should trigger tech- respect to control: sensor maintenance, increased demands
nology innovations and not only require the use of existing from the new and more complex actuators). If the system
technology. One successful incentive is the introduction of fails, the operators will be held accountable since they are
effluent load taxes (i.e. payment of taxes per kg of a pollutant responsible to keep the effluent limits. However, the operators
per day) as opposed to fixed effluent limits. These are for are not rewarded for saving operating costs. Thus, the oper-
instance applied in Denmark (Henze and Arnbjerg-Nielsen, ator has obvious reasons to aerate and dose chemicals more
2010), parts of Belgium (Vanrolleghem et al., 1996b) and than necessary. This “blame culture” is a common reason that
parts of Switzerland (KGSchG, 1996). The principle of an the operation is kept away from the possible best
effluent load tax appeals to the personal responsibility of the performance.
plant operators and is not based on a cost-intensive policy of A recent study (WERF, 2010) has listed some important
bans, regulations and sanctions (GSA, 2001). Effluent load success factors:
taxes are often combined with fixed effluent limits to guar-
antee compliance with environmental needs. In Germany the  A motivated, trained and experienced work force that is
regulations for effluent quality limits are getting stricter highly educated and well paid;
(Vanrolleghem, 2011). The compliance testing is based on 2 h  The tolerance for process risk and in-depth understanding
composite samples and 4 out of 5 have to satisfy the regula- of processes deployed;
tions. This certainly provides driving forces for more process  The ability to quantify gains.
The study also emphasizes the importance of automation
12.3. The human factor and asks for a high level of automation which allows for
a smaller, specialized operations team and the use of
The real knowledge is carried by humans and not by papers or advanced process analysis tools.
books. Surely, models can provide another most important An observation from Dr. Doug Lumley at the Rya WWTP
package of knowledge. They can express the knowledge in after their latest expansion is worth noting. Now there are
a “common language” to the involved professionals. The several “high level” control algorithms implemented. After
model can also contain more than the process dynamics and a few trials and errors these now work remarkably well. An
include instrumentation and actuator dynamics. example is optimizing the flow to the nitrifying trickling
Keeping and improving the competence at all levels will filter while minimizing the pumping energy. The nitrate
probably be the most important question we have to deal production has to be maximized. Then the flow of the
with. There is a continued need for development and updating nitrate produced is to be split between the anoxic zone in
of the curricula in trade schools and universities, recognized the activated sludge tank and new post-denitrification
already in 1974 by John F. Andrews, as mentioned in Sec. 3. reactors. The use of available carbon sources has to be
Why are many control systems not working properly? In maximized. The problem is that there are only three people
a recent paper (Rieger and Olsson, 2011) we have made an who have in-depth knowledge about how and why it works.
attempt to analyze this hurdle. Many years ago Schwarz and For the rest of the staff this is “a hidden technology”.
McConnell (1993) concluded that important reasons why Therefore they need to further educate the staff and raise
treatment performance might be poor compared to the orig- the level of competence in these new control systems. A
inal plant design are that plant operators are constrained by couple of the operators tried to trace through one of these
the treatment technology or they do not exercise adequate control algorithms but gave up when they got up to around
control. They may have inadequate training or lack proper 50 sensors. They no longer could keep track of the control
incentives. This is directly applicable to implementing and loop details any more. Is ICA going to make life too
perhaps even more important to maintaining process control complex? Well, certainly more complex but the gains should
strategies. Several technical constraints still exist and need to be worth it.
be addressed: unreliable sensors, missing fault detection We have to devote much more efforts to find the adequate
methods and improper safety nets and the lack of actuators driving forces. Today the academic world does not sufficiently
with enough control authority to deal with changing influent reward the tedious work of experiments and field studies. The
1616 w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4

system leaves very little room for mistakes or delays caused conferences he instructed us, the presenters, how to behave.
by all too common failures in experimentation. Most He made us listen with his self-evident authority. He all the
academic researchers are awarded based on publications and time kept his curiosity. Once I gave a seminar at the University
their impact factors. This “publish or perish” environment has of California, Berkeley, invited by his son, Professor David
increased the distance between academic research and ulti- Jenkins. Sam Jenkins happened to be there visiting his son and
mate applications in the field. The impact factor has become was also in the audience. At the end of the seminar Sam was
more important than the impact of the research. the one that asked most questions. He had turned 80 years.
In my first years trying to learn control for wastewater
treatment systems I realized that nobody is a prophet at
13. People I met and some lessons I learned home. “Traditional” civil engineers told me that “control can
solve nothing”. When I spent a sabbatical semester in 1975
Looking back at a life-long engagement in ICA I have reflected with John Andrews in Houston a Swedish group of wastewater
a lot what are the most important lessons. Inevitably I think of researchers came to visit John. They wanted to interview him
people that have influenced me: researchers that live with about control and operation. He immediately told them to talk
their research visions, operators that love their work and with me instead, saying in his generous manner that “I know
students that are eager to learn and to solve new problems. nothing about control, please ask Gustaf”. This was an inter-
Some of the pioneers were truly dedicated and most eager to esting turning point for me. By being far away from home my
share their experiences. Their all-pervading vision was to competence was suddenly recognized. The lesson I learnt was
make wastewater treatment plants work more reliably and to never give up the vision!
more economically. John F. Andrews was such a person. Often I reflect why ICA e not only on the “low-level” e is
When I first met him, in London 1973, I was a young inexpe- not considered a most natural part of wastewater treatment
rienced nobody from Sweden. There were a lot of “important operations. In my opinion there are two main factors. One is
figures” at the conference, and not many of them would take the driving forces and the other the engineering education. A
a note of a youngster. John was the great exception. Though he designer will use safety factors in order to make the system
was well known and a “big name” he had time to encourage robust for disturbances. From a risk point of view it is wiser to
a young beginner. His dedication and the generosity that he design with extra margins than to risk any failure by accepting
showed fascinated me. John represented a new thinking in smaller safety factors and compensate with control. He will
wastewater and water operations. I was a control engineer not be rewarded for saving design costs. The utility or
that wanted to learn about automation in wastewater wastewater organization also mostly obeys some “blame
systems. It was obvious that John was a key person in the culture”. It is better to avoid mistakes and criticism than to
profession. save money for operation, as discussed in 12.3. Education in
I was invited by John to come to the University of Houston water and wastewater systems seldom includes anything
in 1975 and we had a most rewarding half year period. I learnt about process dynamics and control. Consequently there is
a lot of process dynamics from him and he wanted to learn still a lack of understanding between control engineers and
more on control theory from me. He also brought to me an design engineers. Unfortunately we too seldom see control
attitude to research, to knowledge, to people, to students and engineers among employees at wastewater treatment plants
to colleagues and this has inspired me for the rest of my or at consulting companies. Operators most often have
professional life. I have never before or after seen anybody so a significant practical experience of dynamics but typically
dedicated, so eager to teach, so generous in attitude. All the lack a more formal understanding of the underlying
time he kept in mind to never compromise in research quality. mechanisms.
His teaching was not restricted to normal working hours. We Many times I have reflected why I have still stayed at the
discussed our research in evenings and weekends. His University. After many years it became obvious that a main
capacity for work was legendary, so much that he carried not reason is that I all the time meet young people. They are
one but two briefcases between his office and home. John willing to try the impossible. They never tell that “this has
always reminded that research has to meet reality all the time. already been tested and we know it can not be done”. They
He wanted to see the ideas from the research lab being force me to think along new lines and I can never just rely on
implemented in real full scale systems. old experiences. The students have been, and still are, a great
Another legendary person was Wilbur (Bill) Torpey. He was source of inspiration.
the chief operator at a large wastewater treatment plant in
New York with a fantastic experience, also an honorary
member of the Water Environment Federation. I met him the 14. The future
first time in 1975. Within half a minute we were involved in
a most vigorous discussion on DO control and DO profiles. Bill Many advanced controls are now commercialized and the
was so dedicated that after his retirement he set up a pilot prices are decreasing. Also, the cost for on-line sensors has
plant in his garage at home. He needed to learn more. Once he been reduced significantly. This means that the critical size of
gave a full day of lectures in Houston when he was around 75. a plant for a good payback of advanced control decreases and
All the PhD students were worn out, but Bill was still full of the potential market of advanced control is growing. Now we
energy and eager to tell about his experiences. face the challenge to develop methods for a clear cost-benefit
Sam Jenkins, the famous editor of Water Research, from its analysis of ICA in both water and wastewater systems. This
first issue in 1967 until 1983, taught me a lot. At the first ICA analysis also has to include the effect of automation on
w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4 1617

design. How do we quantify risks? How to develop more Today modularisation becomes more and more common.
specific definitions of safety factors? How do we prepare for This requires good interfaces between various software
disturbances with a flexible design? How do we design in modules. Considering that the life spans of plant hardware,
a modular fashion e to adapt for increasing load and computer hardware, instrumentation, electronics, software
increasing demands for the future e and still have control and and control structures are all quite different, it has to be
automation in mind all the time? possible to make exchanges of modules in the system without
The decision-making is another key issue. Water and risking that other modules will not function any more. This
wastewater treatment plants are not isolated, but parts of puts a lot of pressure not only on the control system manu-
larger urban water systems. This means that the planning and facturers. The users have to be competent customers.
implementation of ICA has to be system-wide and pursued We are well aware that urban water systems are large in
both vertically and horizontally. System-wide also includes many aspects, not the least in terms of geography. This makes
water supply. Smart water grids are getting attention and the networking even more interesting to better integrate the
1st International Workshop on Smart Water Grids was held in various operations, in particular when decentralized systems
Korea in March 2011. A Smart Water Grid delivers water from are applied. In Bernard et al. (2005), mentioned in 8.4, the
suppliers to consumers using a wide spectrum of sensors, Internet was used to supervise and control anaerobic digesters
digital communication, computer control and actuators. The of winery wastes. This was part of the EU TELEMAC project. In
ultimate purpose of a smart water grid is to minimize water the project experts located at one place could supervise
consumption, to ensure water quality, and to maintain and a number of digesters via the Internet. The potential of Internet
operate the system as efficiently as possible and to keep the is enormous, not only to read data from various parts of the
system consistently operating. The smart grid should auto- system. Via the net control modules, written somewhere else,
matically detect, analyze and respond to malfunctions and can be tested in a real plant before they are permanently
should optimize asset use (Olsson, 2011b). Why is it needed? A installed in the plant control system. The net can also be more
smart water grid should be adapted to include various sources utilised to bring in experts in special situations, when it is
of the water, both from conventional sources, surface water needed. The integrated plant control may be a vision today, but
and ground water, and from reused water of water coming will probably be a main issue in the continued ICA development.
from new processes like desalination. The use of the water The water and energy nexus has become apparent in the
should be related to the quality of water delivered. All of this last few years (Olsson, 2011a). Integrated planning and oper-
has to be monitored and controlled in real time. ation as well as plant-wide control will use ICA methodology
The fact that the technical systems are integrated has to be to coordinate the systems for better efficiency and robustness
reflected in the organisation, so that integrated operation to disturbances. This is part of the urgent needs caused by the
becomes possible, also at the managerial level. The river tremendous urban development and the global warming. ICA
associations in Germany and the water authorities in the UK will have a role to play and has to bring together several
have shown that such organisational integration can be both specialists to deal with the important challenges. Communi-
powerful and successful. cating via dynamical models and simulators is one important
Decentralized systems have become increasingly in possibility.
demand since they can offer wastewater source separation, The challenge of automation is to comprehend the system
flexibility, water and nutrient reuse in a more economically aspects from a unit process perspective and to understand the
feasible way than many centralized systems. In order to be process aspects from a system perspective. One important
acceptable a small wastewater treatment plant has to provide consequence is that process specialists have to be able to
a sufficiently good effluent quality for a specific use. Thus, it appreciate the implications of ICA. Likewise computer and
has to offer advanced wastewater treatment, and at the same control engineers have to understand the process controlla-
time be cost and energy efficient and easy to operate. Auto- bility and its constraints. The multi-disciplinary character of
mation will become a crucial part of any decentralized plant, water operations is a great challenge that ought to inspire our
since the plant has to work autonomously. The potential of future research and development.
ICA in decentralized operation is considered in Olsson (2011c).
Sensor data and other data in treatment and transport
systems have increased almost exponentially over the last
decades. This does not necessarily mean that the information Acknowledgements
has increased as much. With more sensors available and
stricter effluent quality requirements the operator will need There are numerous people to thank for their support during
ever improving support from the control systems. This leads many years. In our early experiments the personnel at the
to higher demands on reliable fault analysis, data screening, Käppala wastewater treatment plant in Stockholm gave us
information condensation and operator guidance. The quality a lot of freedom. Without their generosity we would never
of data has to be guaranteed at all times. Also the behaviour or have made any progress. Karl J. Åström (Lund University) was
the control algorithms needs to be supervised. What to do if my mentor in automatic control and gave me the control
the measurement looks unreasonable or is missing? How to background and the encouragement to deal with the waste-
make sure that the actuator has worked as intended? All this water treatment challenges. Thomas Gillblad and Olof Hans-
leads to the need for “safety nets” and software robustness for son were great companions in these learning phases and
the controller implementation and control algorithms that do Thomas still shares with me his unique experiences in auto-
not run amuck because of failing components. mation. Chuck Wells and Dave Stepner (Palo Alto, California)
1618 w a t e r r e s e a r c h 4 6 ( 2 0 1 2 ) 1 5 8 5 e1 6 2 4

introduced me to DO control. John F. Andrews (then in privilege to be part time guest professor in China and in
Houston, Texas) became my great mentor for many years and Malaysia. Zaini Ujang (Vice Chancellor of the Technical Univ.
I enjoyed his friendship until his death in 2011. During all the of Malaysia) and Jining Chen (Vice Chancellor of Tsinghua
years Truett Garrett (Houston, Texas) has shared his unique University, Beijing) and a large number of PhD students at
blend of academic knowledge and extensive practical expe- their universities have offered plenty of opportunities to
riences. Ron Briggs (UK) taught me a lot on instrumentation. discover water systems from other perspectives. And, last but
Bruce Beck (UK and later USA) and I have had a lot of inspiring not least, my Lund University PhD students that nowadays are
discussions on modelling and control all the time from the my teachers: Lars Rundqwist, Ulf Holmberg, Sven-Göran
mid 1970s. Joe Stephenson and Dave Chapman (Burlington, Bergh, Ulf Jeppsson, Christian Rosen, Pernille Ingildsen, Dalius
Ontario) offered great opportunities to exchange experiences Misiunas and Jing Liu. Stefan Diehl at the Math Department
in a most rewarding research and experimental environment taught me how advanced mathematics can be used in settler
at the Wastewater Technology Centre in Burlington. Masakatu modelling. They have made our progress possible. IWA has
Hiraoka (Kyoto), Tohru Ohto (Hitachi Chi) and Kenji Baba provided the platform, inspiration and meeting places that
(Hitachi Chi) generously taught me the Japanese perspective made this journey possible. As a chairman of the ICA
of ICA. G. v. R. Marais made a lasting impression on me and I Specialist Group and editor-in-chief of Water Science and
had a most memorable stay in 1984 at his department at the Technology I have got extraordinary opportunities to learn
University of Cape Town. Henri Spanjers (The Netherlands) from so many great people. For this paper some people have
and Peter Vanrolleghem (Belgium, now in Quebec, Canada) devoted a lot of time to give me valuable constructive feed-
taught me respirometry and inspired and still teach me many back: Ulf Jeppsson, Doug Lumley, Leiv Rieger, Henri Spanjers,
aspects of modelling. Bob Hill (USA) and Cello Vitasovic (USA) Peter Vanrolleghem, Cello Vitasovic and Zhiguo Yuan. I thank
have encouraged me since their PhD studies in Houston and them all.
have so generously shared their industrial experiences with
me. Bill Barkley (USA) gave me the opportunity to learn about references
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