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Scottish Water uses data to drive waste water site improvements

  • Scottish Water uses data to drive waste water site improvements
    Image: Scottish Water

About the entity

Scottish Water
We are a publicly owned company, answerable to the Scottish Parliament and the people of Scotland. It's our job to provide 1.34 billion litres of drinking water every day and take away 847 million litres of waste water daily.

An enhanced focus on data is giving Scotland’s most experienced waste water site operators a new insight into running critical infrastructure.

A new system called Exemplar captures the end-to-end process of running some of the country’s biggest waste water treatment plants.

It was trialled at one of the country’s biggest treatment works in Paisley and is now being rolled out to 16 new sites across Scotland to improve how these assets run. 

Scottish Water treats more than 1 billion litres of waste water every day, while processes associated with treatment accounts for more than 70 per cent of CO2 emitted annually by the publicly operated organisation.

Exemplar uses digital technology connecting our operators to new dynamic insights from smart sensors, giving them detailed information into how each plant is operating.

It allows for adjustments to be made in treatment processes, reduce energy consumption and costs, and even helps predict when investment might be needed ahead of mechanical or electrical failures to reduce reactive repairs.

Exemplar collects data on six key areas: Telemetry, critical asset condition monitoring, final effluent monitoring, real-time control, weather and environment data, and energy use. All of these are vital elements in how a waste water site runs.

Waste water operations manager Nathan Wield led the project team. He said: “This technology transforms what was a relatively traditional and manual approach to operating our assets and the treatment of Scotland’s waste water to one which puts data at the heart of it allowing for smarter, quicker and more effective decision making.

By delivering the right technology to the right people at the right time we can improve performance, add value for money and deliver excellent and reliable service

“Ultimately it improves the service we offer to the public and improves our protection of the environment which is something we all feel an enormous pride in within waste water operations teams.

He added: “Exemplar gives us real-time, live visibility of a range of parameters giving us enhanced understanding of treatment processes and the effective operation of our assets. Operators at one site can also see remotely how another site many miles away is running – reducing our need to be on the road.

“By operating smarter and being in much greater control over the treatment processes and energy use, it gives our teams a platform on which to base really dynamic decision-making."

Rob Mustard, Scottish Water’s Director of Digital and Transformation said: “By delivering the right technology to the right people at the right time we can improve performance, add value for money and deliver excellent and reliable service.

“Mapping our strategic objectives and activities to technologies and being innovative in our thinking will ensure we can meet the challenges of an ever-changing world and reduce our environmental impact very directly.”

The Exemplar system will operate 24-hours a day across a range of operator devices at some of our larger treatment sites, giving instant access to the latest site information.

Laighpark Waste Water Treatment Works’ required licenced treatment flow is 2473 litres per second – over 213,000,000 litres per day.

Exemplar has now been rolled out to assets in Erskine, Shieldhall, Dalmarnock, Daldowie, Hamilton, Kinneil, Kerse, Dalderse, Troqueer, Carbarns, Campbelltown, St Andrews, Perth, Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy, Dunbar and Philipshill.

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