Automation in Wastewater Treatment: the Hidden Costs of Assumptions in New and Retrofitted Systems

Feb 12, 2016
Water treatment

Quality wastewater treatment ought to be a business asset in your operations. Problem-free treatment saves time, trouble, and even costly bad publicity. When quality standards aren’t met, the consequences can be serious for your bottom line and even your brand.

Surprisingly, many companies live with that worry. They assume that their system is adequate even when it’s a generation or more behind current technology. Those legacy systems can be expensive to operate and subject to errors. They create problems that don’t need to happen.

One solution: automation.

State-of-the-art automation can help take the worry out of your wastewater treatment. New technologies in treatment systems make it possible for you to save money, avoid downtime and repairs, and uphold quality standards, even in older systems. Automation helps you get better management for safety and compliance in your water treatment—in a word, control.

A centralized control panel helps organize your entire wastewater treatment operation.

Just what is the state-of-the-art, and what difference does it make for the companies that put it to work?

Typically, automated wastewater treatment systems include:

  • Centralized control panels that provide a graphic flow display and consolidated system functions into one station.
  • Remote monitoring capabilities so your managers can see and handle system control even off-site.
  • Smart hardware that gives rapid feedback on every subsystem and function.
  • Multi-channel alerts through email, text messaging and other platforms that permit two-way communication between you and your system, for instant diagnosis and response to problems.

Automating gives your company added measures of insight, insurance and cost-savings into your system performance. Old systems can hide problems and costs. Automated systems reveal them and offer you a cost-effective opportunity to make improvements. They optimize labor and productivity. They help cut human error in repetitive tasks and make it possible for fewer operators to deliver a higher level of performance. Operations whose expenses and quality were assumed can be tested and improved, with learning captured, a new level of quality made possible, and an edge over companies still letting their older systems waste time and money.

The hidden costs in legacy systems—manpower, electricity, solids control and treatment, chemicals, etc.—add up every day. However, many companies see these costs as overhead, so they don’t look for solutions to inefficiencies and expenses that they take for granted. Some systems can’t quantify these costs at all. The consequences of assumptions can be high. For many companies the prospect of retrofitting an old system into an automated one seems like a tough call—until those costs reveal themselves, or worse, until some unanticipated breakdown creates a much bigger problem. That’s what makes retrofitting worth it. Older systems can be improved to meet more stringent limits; treat for more impurities; and treat higher volumes of water. Again, it’s about control, and control equals better cost-effectiveness. Many retrofits pay for themselves remarkably quickly.

Wastewater treatment isn’t your primary focus, but it’s important nevertheless to see the importance of doing it right.

Your company loses its edge when hidden costs and threats undermine your competitiveness. If you’re depending on an older water treatment system, you need to know it’s performing to the efficiency, quality and regulatory standards you need to meet today. Even for systems MacDermid Envio didn’t build, our retrofitting can give you that assurance.

For forty years we’ve built our industry leadership in developing and deploying cost-effective automation solutions for wastewater treatment systems. Our approach is unique. We partner with our clients from the drawing board for comprehensive research, problem diagnosis and long-term solutions. We apply the best technologies for treatability and engineer for effective operations with custom mechanicals and chemicals that optimize your operations and lower your costs.

That’s only the beginning. MacDermid Envio seeks to understand the underlying advantages that your company can get from high-quality treatment systems and operations. Our experience and integrated capabilities let us see your water treatment challenges in your real business context. We listen. We dig in to diagnose and learn. We customize. Our automation processes are designed to get you to the real quality solution that builds your business advantage. We can help you solve problems you might not even know you have. And our commitment lasts with a partnership for long-term quality.