ITWat - http://www.itwatproject.com/ (Supported by Enterprise Ireland; Project Lead - NUI Galway; Collaborator - IT Sligo)
Compliance with increasingly stringent legislation is one of the key challenges in the wastewater technology sector in the European Union (EU). In 2011, the EU reported that compliance with the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive in many countries was less than 50%.
Where decentralised wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are common due to the advantages they offer in terms of reduced infrastructural requirements, compliance with regulatory standards can be difficult or costly as these decentralised systems can cause significant problems, for example;
- poorer effluent quality when compared to centralised WWTPs,
- inefficient operating cost-efficiency,
- infrequent monitoring leading to delays if problems occur,
- cost of operators travelling between various decentralised WWTPs.
The development of low-cost and robust sensors that provide real-time feedback and allow for effective decision-making by operators have been highlighted as crucial to solving the above issues. Current on-line sensor technologies are often expensive and are developed independently of WWTP control systems (therefore the data they present can be difficult or time-consuming for process engineers or WWTP managers to interpret).
The ITWat project is a multi-disciplinary project concerned with the development of a suite of innovative sensor-type technologies that will be used for the monitoring and control of wastewater treatment plants.