Skip to main content


Buy Article:

$9.50 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Or sign up for a free trial

Automation in the wastewater treatment industry is advancing rapidly. Industries and agencies are complying with stricter regulations and performing more tasks with less staff. Automation provides an opportunity to overcome the regulation and staffing hurdles. The automation trend is just reaching the thickening and dewatering processes that are employed at practically every wastewater treatment facility. These processes have routinely been operated with “semiautomatic” controls because of the inherent variations of the feed and the lack of reliable instrumentation. This research on automated thickening and dewatering involved performing long-term operational tests on automation packages and instruments to determine the potential for fully automated operation. This research has been funded by the Water Environment Research Foundation with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The four agencies where this research was completed each had very difficult sludge to dewater or thicken. Even with this, the instruments and control systems showed the operators optimum operational parameters that resulted in some improvement, i.e., reduced polymer dosage, improved capture, and/or more consistent cake and centrate/filtrate. The instrumentation also allowed the discovery of many problems with the existing systems of which the plant staff was not aware.

The required cleaning of the probes, unclogging of sample lines, plus the required operator attention to the systems made the control systems more of a problem for the operators of these systems then the value they perceived from them. As a result the research team had to continually push to get the systems put back in automatic. Consequently, although installed at little or no cost to the agencies, all of them chose not to purchase the equipment and make these permanent installations.

Results from the research lead to recommendations for new thickening and dewatering systems. These include: applicability of solids concentration instruments, instrumentation installation recommendations, and control system applicability. Further research of new systems and a system being developed in the Netherlands is recommended.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-01-01

More about this publication?
  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

    A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation includes access to most papers presented at the annual WEF Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) and other conferences held since 2000. Subscription access begins 12 months after the event and is valid for 12 months from month of purchase. A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is included in Water Environment Federation (WEF) membership.

    WEF Members: Sign in (right panel) with your IngentaConnect user name and password to receive complimentary access. Access begins 12 months after the conference or event
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • About WEF Proceedings
  • WEFTEC Conference Information
  • Learn about the many other WEF member benefits and join today
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more