Scottish Water pours £100m into IoT technology

Scottish Water has announced an investment of up to £100 million ($122.7 million) in Wastewater infrastructure, including remote sensing and data-based insight.

This latest investment aims to improve the water company’s service to customers, protect the environment, reduce costs and help in its journey toward net carbon emissions.

The first phases of investment over the next five years will be directed into the company’s smart asset base, which is designed to use new technology to monitor sewer pipes rather than relying on informing customers of problems.

New technology experiences have shown that it will give the company real-time insights into how its network operates and enable it to be more proactive in how it responds to issues and resolves issues before customers and the environment are affected.

The technology is currently being trialled in four areas – Erskine, Inverness, Lossiemouth and East Calder – which have historically experienced flood and pollution events.

Scottish Water has installed obstruction detection sensors and used this data to avoid potential environmental pollution incidents (EPIs) and flooding of customer premises.

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Using learning from these four areas, Scottish Water has stated its intention to extend this intelligence to other areas facing similar problems.

The goal is to access new and existing operational data from across the infrastructure, and connect it securely via Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and other devices to provide near-real-time data and reduce reliance on site visits. This enables significant cost savings because 600 samples are collected daily from across the 1,800 Scottish Water process businesses.

This capacity is installed in 17 “typical” wastewater treatment works. In the first phase, Laighpark WWTW in Paisley, Scottish Water now has final real-time compliance data for effluent which, combined with real-time control and intervention, helps reduce the risk of compliance violations as well as reduce energy consumption across the site.

Status sensors have also been installed on large assets such as pumps which, when fail, can lead to significant cost and pollution.

By monitoring vibrations and temperature, Scottish water maintenance teams can proactively intervene if signals depart from “normal” operating levels, avoiding the cost of failure and contamination while extending the life of assets.

Scottish Water has invested more than 5 million pounds ($6.1 million) in the sanitation business and nearly 2 million pounds ($2.5) in sensors in the pilot network to date.

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This announcement comes in light of the facility’s wastewater treatment assets, where the main challenge has been little access to real-time data on treatment quality as well as critical assets condition and performance.

The tool demonstrated how maintenance is, as a result, more responsive than predictive, energy consumption is higher than it otherwise would be, and asset life is likely to be shortened.

Chris Taub, General Manager – Digital said: “We are very encouraged by the initial results that have come from our pilot work. The innovative use of sensors and analytics in this way represents a much larger shift towards predicting and preventing problems before they affect our customers and our environment – ensuring the flow of critical services smoothly and efficiently.”

Joyce Gray, Sanitation Business Director, added: “This is a complex program of work and an important part of our digital transformation journey, helping to transform our sanitation business and make a difference in operational performance.

“It will allow us to make better operating decisions, be more efficient and reap significant benefits, particularly in terms of energy consumption and responsive asset failures.”

Atos and Capgemini act as digital utility partners in providing IT services and digital transformation.

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