How to boost treatment efficiency with sensors

Wastewater treatment requires considerable amounts of energy. The installation and operation of water quality sensors at wastewater treatment plants can significantly improve water quality and the stability of treatment processes, while cutting costs by reducing the consumption of energy and chemicals.

Cost savings of 20% or more can be achieved with the help of suitable sensor technologies, proving that carbon footprint reduction and cost-savings go hand in hand.

The best way to reduce both the costs and carbon footprint of a wastewater treatment system is to reduce energy demand without compromising on water quality and services. Smart use of sensor technologies helps to achieve exactly this.


A wastewater utility can reduce energy use by more than 20% by optimising its active sludge process.


The anticipated investment costs of approx. 100-150 k€ can be recovered in less than 9 months.


The implementation of sensors for active sludge treatment optimisation leads to a 25% reduction in methane and laughing gas formation, both potent greenhouse gases.


Development and implementation of QA/QC procedures for online sensors enabling their use in real-time control of drinking water

The Dutch utility Waternet uses two different treatment plants to produce drinking water for the city of Amsterdam. The raw water is continuously monitored using an array of sensors, including both physical-chemical technologies as well as effect-based biomonitors. The intake can be closed when water quality is compromised. This showcase describes why and how all sensors used at the intake and during treatment were optimised. The utility’s online sensors are now operated under certified ISO 17025 conditions and support the remote control of multiple treatment plants and pumping stations.

The Dutch drinking water utility Waternet optimised its QA/QC procedures for online water quality sensors, and saved 30% on monitoring costs while significantly improving the operationality of its online instrumentation and the reliability of monitoring results.

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Wastewater Process Control – a UK case study

The drive within the water industry to save energy, reduce costs and minimise carbon footprint has led to a focus on the optimisation of wastewater treatment processes, specifically the activated sludge process (ASP), which can consume up to 70% of energy used at a wastewater treatment plant.

Advanced Process Control (APC) using sensors for dissolved oxygen (DO), ammonia and nitrate offers a reduction of up to 20% in energy costs, depending on plant loading characteristics, plant configuration and level of instrumentation.

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