Middle East Water Forum

Founder: Dr. Hazim El-Naser
Interact Water Post
Capitalizing RFID technology as cost-effective real-time process monitoring tool in wastewater treatment: two case studies
By Brightwork | Categories: New Technology | 19th June 2020

The legislative norms for treated wastewater discharge in terms of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) 
concentrations are becoming increasingly stringent in the EU region. Compliance with the consent values 
compelled the water authorities to implement moving bed biofilters (MBFs) for tertiary stage effluent 
polishing. However, on-site and field surveys reveal that numerous MBF units suffer from non-optimal 
operational conditions, logistical challenges and irregular monitoring. This makes meeting the consents quite 
a challenging and expensive affair. It is therefore important to optimize day-to-day operations, facilitate access 
to reliable and real-time status updates, and troubleshoot the failures. In this direction, an "internet-of-things", 
radio frequency ID (RFID) and cloud based monitoring and control tool, Sand-Cycle, was successfully 
developed, tested and implemented to monitor MBFs. The current study presents full-scale application of the 
developed remote control and mote technology at two wastewater treatment works. Sand-Cycle illustrated real-
time dashboards indicating performance grading factors viz. in-situ average sand circulation rate, active bed 
volume and filter homogeneity. This presented clear instructions for detected malfunctions and enabled the 
operators to optimize the MBF output with limited effort. Further technical and technological advancements 
of such IoT based setups can actively assist in tackling long-term sustainability and wastewater management