Digital solutions for continued operation of WRRFs during pandemics and other interruptions
Water environment research
This paper includes survey results from 17 full-scale water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) to explore their technical, operational, maintenance, and management-related challenges during COVID-19. Based on the survey results, limited monitoring and maintenance of instrumentation and sensors are among the critical factors during the pandemic which resulted in poor data quality in several WRRFs. Due to lockdown of cities and countries, most of the facilities observed interruptions of
... supply frequency which impacted the treatment process involving chemical additions. Some plants observed influent flow reduction and illicit discharges from industrial wastewater which eventually affected the biological treatment processes. Delays in equipment maintenance also increased the operational and maintenance cost. Most of the plants reported that new set of personnel management rules during pandemic created difficulties in scheduling operator's shifts which directly hampered the plant operations. All the plant operators mentioned that automation, instrumentation, and sensor applications could help plant operations more efficiently while working remotely during pandemic. To handle emergency circumstances including pandemic, this paper also highlights resources and critical factors for emergency responses, preparedness, resiliency, and mitigation that can be adopted by WRRFs.