Quantifying the benefit of a dynamic performance assessment of WWTP

Silvana Revollar*, Montse Meneses, Ramón Vilanova, Pastora Vega, Mario Francisco

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In this work a comprehensive analysis of the environmental impact of the operation of a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) using different control strategies is carried out considering the dynamic evolution of some environmental indicators and average operation costs. The selected strategies are PI (proportional integral) control schemes such as dissolved oxygen control in the aerobic zone (DO control), DO control and nitrates control in the anoxic zone (DO + NO control) and regulation of ammonium control at the end of aerobic zone (Cascade SNHSPcommonly used in WWTPs to maintain the conditions that ensure the desired effluent quality in a variable influent scenario. The main novelty of the work is the integration of potential insights into environmental impact from the analysis of dynamic evolution of environmental indicators at different time scales. The consideration of annual, bimonthly and weekly temporal windows to evaluate performance indicators makes it possible to capture seasonal effects of influent disturbances and control actions on environmental costs of wastewater treatment that are unnoticed in the annual-based performance evaluation. Then, in the case of periodic events, it is possible to find solutions to improve operation by the adjustment of the control variables in specific periods of time along the operation horizon. The analysis of the annual average and dynamic profiles (weekly and bimonthly) of environmental indicators showed that ammonium-based control (Cascade SNHSP) produce the best compromise solution between environmental and operation costs compared with DO control and DO + NO control. An alternative control strategy, named SNHSP var Qcarb var, has been defined considering a sequence of changes on ammonium set-point (SNHSP) and carbon dosage (Qcarb) on different temporal windows. It is compared with DO control considering weekly and bimonthly profiles and annual average values leading to the conclusion that both strategies, Cascade SNHSP and SNHSP var Qcarb var, produce an improvement of dynamic and annual average environmental performance and operation costs, but benefits of Cascade SNHSP strategy are associated with reduction of electricity consumption and emissions to water, while SNHSP var Qcarb var strategy reduces electricity consumption, use of chemicals (reducing external carbon dosage) and operation costs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number206
Number of pages33
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • Dynamic assessment of performance
  • Environmental costs
  • PID control
  • Wastewater treatment plants


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