A researcher develops a methodology to optimize wastewater treatment resources and improve the quality of rivers

Pau Prat, researcher at the LEQUIA group (University of Girona) has focused his thesis on the development of a methodology to address the management problems in the industrial water cycle. A mathematical simulation model allows assessing operation strategies before being implemented.

The Water Framework Directive establishes a new legal framework for water management, as it is based on an integrated approach of river basins. This approach is also applied to wastewater treatment infrastructures, including sewerage systems, wastewater treatment plants and the final disposal in water masses. The trend promoted by the Water Framework Directive is an integrated management of these infrastructures, traditionally performed independently. This new approach opens the door to new management strategies that optimize wastewater treatment resources.

The main goal of the thesis of Pau Prat has been to develop a methodology to address the management problems in the industrial water cycle. The methodology proposed suggests management strategies that can improve the overall system performance in certain troublesome situations. It is based on a mathematical simulation model of these infrastructures, which allows evaluating multiple operation strategies before being implemented.

Pau Prat has assessed this methodology in the basin of the Congost river and in severals adverse situations. By following the proposed methodology a better operation strategy has been found that improves the quality of the river.

The thesis, entitled “Integrated management of urban wastewater systems: a model-based approach”, directed by Dr. Joaquim Comas and Lluís Corominas, proves that the methodology developed has a great potential to help improve the current management of sanitation infrastructures in real situations. Simultaneously, this method contributes to the implementation of the Water Framework Directive and helps managers face the complexity of sanitation infrastructures operation.

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