An Integrated Project Funded by the European Commission under the Sustainable Development, Global Change and Ecosystems Thematic Priority Area.
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Contract Number: 018320
Project Cordinator: Dr. Theo van den Hoven KIWA Water Research
Project Duration: 1st January 2006 to 31st December 2010

WA5 'Operation and Maintenance'


A sub-optimum operation and maintenance of water treatment and distribution systems may seriously compromise water supply safety, cost-efficiency, and sustainability. Even more serious, it may compromise public health. Thus, WA5 is mainly aimed at addressing and improving the operational performance of existing water treatment and distribution systems.
Today’s water supply systems are to a great extent subject to re-active maintenance and standard operational methods that are not adapted to the given conditions. Processes in the distribution network are mostly inaccessible and modern sensor technology is not yet sufficiently implemented. Water quality is monitored to check compliance against standards and, sometimes, tests are performed to determine e.g. the dosage of chemicals. All these data are however scarcely used to improve day-to-day operation.

The development of TECHNEAU in monitoring, automation and modelling will enable improvements in the quality and reliability of the water supply chain and make maximal use of the installed infrastructure. The ultimate goal is to maintain or improve the customer service level with regard to reliability, safety and quality whilst meeting the demands and restraints of regulations and costs.



Work area 5 consists of 6 work packages. The logical framework is based in WP5.1, where tools and methods developed in WP5.2-5.6 are transferred and demonstrated. The IWA benchmarking system will be applied at end-user sites from WA7 in order to evaluate the performance in the different areas of water supply. From this result, a set of four end-users is chosen with varying challenges in operation and maintenance; one of those utilities will represent typical developing country conditions. In the next step a more thorough system analysis will be performed of the four water supply systems in order to define deficiencies and current service levels.
The target service level must be defined in a next step, which will not necessarily demand the most optimal but most cost effective solution. Based on the mapping of current status in water supply and the chosen targets, tools and methods are selected from work packages 5.2-5.6 in order to apply remedial measures for operation and maintenance at the utility sites. After finalisation of the demonstration phase, a cost benefit analysis will be carried out in order to evaluate the efficiency of the suggested measures.
To achieve the TECHNEAU goals natural, sustainable processes need to be taken into account in operation and maintenance of treatment systems. Methods as managed aquifer recharge systems (MAR) are an important part in a multi-barrier philosophy in water treatment. WP5.2 aims to develop an operational system of combined treatment processes to lower costs for water production. Managed aquifer recharge e.g. bank filtration will be used as pre-treatment step and conventional treatment methods will be added in minimised configuration. Simulation tools such as bank filtration simulator, reaction models and simplified management models will be used for optimization and for operational planning purposes.
WP5.3 is dedicated to gain more knowledge on optimal operation and optimization of water treatment facilities. Operational models for unit processes in water treatment will be developed and refined for the purpose of optimization as well as process steering and control (ICT). The components addressed are coagulation/filtration, membrane filtration, oxidation and adsorption and soil treatment. The main objective is to achieve a cost efficient, sound, safe and sustainable operation and performance of water treatment facilities.
WP5.4 will develop an integrated water treatment simulator that enables users to construct a virtual water treatment plant and simulate its performance based on measured raw water quality. Such a simulation tool serves several purposes, for instance optimisation, simulation of failure events, robustness tests and education. The user shall be able to trace the fate of pollutants through the system and visualise waste streams. Models describing individual (WP5.3) or joint unit processes will be implemented within the framework linking input and output with respect to pertinent process variables.
WP5.5 conducts research on water quality and network material interaction. Process models will be developed for a quantification of for example corrosion, sediment formation and microbiological activity, linking water quality, actuators and materials in the distribution system. The models will predict the deterioration of water quality from the treatment plant to the consumers tap. Necessary data input for the models will come from WA3 sensor technologies and from end-users.
WP5.6 will develop improved operational methods and maintenance schemes for the distribution system. It combines established existing methods and newly developed maintenance tools with the process models developed in TECHNEAU for water quality change (WP5.5) and on-line measurements from WA3 sensor technologies. The tools will address day-to-day operation and maintenance as well as fast response operation for sudden water quality changes. Drivers for the tools are reliability, water quality, service level and costs.

Structure of WA5 and relation with other WAs


Work area 5 of TECHNEAU takes its origin in existing water supply systems. It offers a set of tools and methods to the utility for the implementation of remedial operational measures and maintenance schemes without a costly re-design of the existing infrastructure. This includes:

  • Performance analysis of existing systems and mapping of deficiencies
  • Operational optimisation of existing water treatment processes
  • Treatment plant simulator
  • Water quality model in distribution systems
  • Improved operational methods for distribution systems based on TECHNEAU results
  • Water quality and reliability driven maintenance schemes
  • Operational improvement will be demonstrated at end-user sites with the goal to achieve target levels for customer service, quality, reliability, safety and costs.