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Parks Canada sites now able to monitor wastewater treatment remotely

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Remote monitoring can help operators better understand treatment plant performance.

SENTRY-BOD systems are now providing Parks Canada operators with the ability to remotely monitor wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) performance in real time at four park locations in the Rocky Mountains. The company installed four systems in a variety of wastewater treatment systems, across three national parks this spring. The goal is to help operators better understand the health of biology and treatment plant performance through the fluctuations of tourism seasons.

The installations are relevant for operators of return activated sludge (RAS), enhanced on-site septic, rotating biological contactors (RBC), and membrane bioreactor (MBR) treatment plants.

Banff National Park, Alberta

The Lake Louise WWTP acts as a year-round RAS plant, with a 4,137 m3/day capacity and an on-site operations team. Operators worked with the SENTRY team to install sensors on the influent and effluent sides of the aerated bioreactor to monitor overall treatment efficiency of the process. The plant experiences a large range of fluctuations in loading throughout the year due to seasonal and small industry sources. Using the SENTRY dashboard, operators and SENTRY staff can remotely monitor daily and weekly trends in performance of the aeration system.

The Johnson Canyon WWTP has an enhanced Bionest septic system design with an extended aerated fixed film reactor that disperses to multiple conventional beds. The location is remote, and does not have an operator on-site daily. Its peak daily capacity is 22 m3. SENTRY installed sensors to monitor the treatment efficiency of the fixed film reactor, as well as monitor the final system effluent. A primary goal is to understand if excess organic loading is being directed to the leach field during the summer season when there is an increase in visitors in the area.

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Jasper National Park, Alberta

Miette Hot Springs WWTP’s design is based around dual RBCs and disk filters. Sensors were installed to monitor influent and effluent wastewater quality. The SENTRY installation team saw the benefit to Parks Canada of being able to remotely monitor the performance of the key treatment equipment. This is a relatively small plant, with a peak flow capacity of 420 m3/day and does not have full-time, on-site operators. Using the SENTRY online dashboard and alerts system, the nearest operator can schedule maintenance based on imbalance notifications from the biology in the treatment plant.

Yoho National Park, British Columbia

The Field WWTP has a daily capacity of 477 m3, with treatment based on an MBR. Such treatment plants typically require a high level of operator input and this is the case here. Plant operators had to make frequent visits from Lake Louise to check the system and perform maintenance during the summer season. SENTRY sensors are installed at four key process locations throughout the process, providing key insight on plant performance and real-time alerts to key biological imbalance events.

Sensors monitor pre- and post-MBR biological performance, helping operators to understand if key treatment standards are being maintained and if on-site maintenance is required. By remotely observing the daily trends on the SENTRY dashboard, operators can decrease the frequency and dependency of check-ins at the station.

Dwayne Doucette, a water and wastewater engineer with Parks Canada, says: “IWT’s SENTRY-BOD has been providing real-time feedback on wastewater strength at several of our treatment plants across the Agency. The data is presented in a simple, graphical format, which helps us to better understand our operations and treatment plant performance. We are learning how BOD varies throughout the day and how plant performance responds at various locations within the treatment process. We expect Sentry-BOD will also provide insight into plant upsets and help us with design criteria for future upgrades at test sites and other sites across the Agency.”

This article appears in ES&E Magazine’s December 2019 issue.

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