News May 29, 2019

Dynamic Delivery: Simulating Melbourne’s Water Future

With ever-increasing demands and changing treatment regulations, providing sustainable and economical water is more complex a task than ever.

Wastewater treatment facilities at sunset

Melbourne is on track to surpass Sydney as Australia’s largest city within the next decade, adding nearly 120,000 new residents in 2018 – some 327 people per day.

As this population growth increases demand on water resources and systems, Melbourne Water – a Victorian Government authority – is tasked with managing and protecting Melbourne’s major water resources.

Among the improvements being studied and proposed is an upgrade at one of the utility’s two large water treatment plants, Winneke Water Treatment Plant (WTP) to install an ultraviolet (UV) disinfection system.

Originally constructed in 1980, Winneke WTP now treats more than 40% of Melbourne’s total drinking water, sourcing water from Sugarloaf Reservoir. Sugarloaf Reservoir is unique because, unlike most other reservoirs that draw water from protected catchments, it’s fed from a local aqueduct and river. Because Sugarloaf is fed from open catchments, its water is treated to manage pathogen risk. To continue treating its water to the highest standards, Melbourne Water has completed early design of a UV disinfection system in anticipation of future of Health Based Targets – and they partnered with Jacobs to develop and design the system.

Winneke WTP treats approximately 350 million liters of water every day for distribution to millions of homes and business throughout Melbourne. To make sure there’s always enough drinking water to meet demand, the plant varies its production flow rate throughout the day.  Previously, the achieved filtrate flows would swing around the targeted flow rate, without closely following the setpoints. As a result, the proposed new UV system at the plant needed to be sized to meet peak filtrate flows. To provide an opportunity for UV capital cost savings, the team needed to stabilize filtrate flow fluctuations and reduce spikes.

Here’s how they did just that – ultimately achieving $2.5 million in capital cost savings and zero downtime:

Dynamic simulations within a digital twin achieve differentiated results

Winneke’s existing filter control strategy resulted in filtrated flow fluctuations up to 100 megaliters per day. To stabilize these flows and minimize UV system capacity requirements and reduce capital construction operating costs, our team used Jacobs’ Replica™ simulation platform to create a comprehensive dynamic simulation model of the existing WTP systems.

Replica is a Jacobs-developed software that is used to create digital twins of water facilities from intelligent objects to simulate hydraulics, instrumentation & control, water quality and treatment processes simultaneously. Replica is more realistic and accurate than using multiple discrete and static models because dynamic simulation models can react to conditions that change with time, such as flow demands and water quality, where static analyses require assumptions for average and worst-case values.

Additionally, the platform allows users to quickly understand impacts of design choices on capital and operating costs – an important value-add when it comes to understanding system dynamics and interaction at a deeper level, explains Jacobs Global Director of Digital Solutions Raja Kadiyala.

Jacobs is applying Replica for a variety of projects and clients, including to minimize energy and chemical usage on water and industrial water-related processes, to develop alternative control strategies against wet weather events and to create digital twins of water infrastructure around the world.

“Using hi-fidelity dynamic simulation models, we can assess ‘what if’ scenarios in the digital domain, vetting the solution prior to final implementation in the physical environment – a pivotal tool in improving operational performance,” Kadiyala adds.

For Winneke WTP, we used the dynamic model to revamp the control strategy, revise tuning parameters and update the control narrative. We then used the model during functional acceptance testing of modified control logic.

The dynamic model simulated a variety of hydraulic conditions and provided the process inputs to the new control logic. This allowed for extensive testing, debugging and troubleshooting of the updated code before downloading to the filter programmable logic controller in a low cost, risk-free environment. Our team identified several major code issues during the functional acceptance testing – prior to bringing the new software logic online, helping reduce cost and schedule impacts and resulting in zero disturbance to plant operations.

Want more on how dynamic simulation can help optimize performance, supply safe and sustainable water and make smart, defensible decisions?

Jacobs’ industry-leading water experts will share related innovations and technical knowledge at the American Water Works Association’s Annual Conference and Exposition in Denver, CO, June 9-12, 2019:

  • Jacobs’ Jason Curl is participating in the AWWA-SIWW Smart Water Leaders Forum on June 9, sharing insights on “Application of Digital Twins at Large Municipal Facilities.
  • Jacobs’ Stephanie McGregor will be discussing the Winneke WTP with her “Complete Water Treatment Plant Simulation Prior to Startup: Control Logic Functional Acceptance Testing Using Dynamic Simulation” presentation on June 11 during the Control Strategies Improve Treatment and Quality Session. Jacobs’ Michelle Mayes serves as a session alternate, with her insights “Simulating Air and Liquid Streams to Reduce Risk While Developing Control Logic Upgrades at a Treatment Facility.”
  • Jacobs’ Tyler Nading will share “15 Years of Lessons Learned: Best Practices in Treatment Plant Process Control Strategies” during the Using Models for Improving Plant Design, Operation and Energy Reduction session on June 10.
  • Jacobs’ Kyle Hegger will present “Using a Digital Twin to Enhance Control System Design and Operator Training at a 34 MGD Reuse Facility” on June 10 at the Indirect Potable Reuse Technologies and Projects session.

ACE brings together decision makers, thought leaders and young professionals to share innovative ideas and technical solutions to move the water industry forward and this year’s theme is focused on innovating the future of water.

“Our company has sponsored ACE for nearly two decades, and as one of the consistently top ranked water companies, Jacobs takes our responsibility to innovate the future of water seriously, which is why we continue to participate in events like ACE and why we work hand in hand with our clients to dream and implement the most innovative solutions,” says Jacobs Global Water Director Peter Nicol. “Our water leaders work to shape the future of water and drive change to address the needs of a rising population, unpredictable weather patterns and an increasingly data-driven economy every day.”

The conference also serves as a venue for acknowledging and celebrating the many contributions water professionals have made to the industry. Jacobs’ Alyssa Smith will be recognized at the Water For People Kenneth J. Miller Founders’ Award Luncheon on June 10. Alyssa will accept the 2019 Kenneth J. Miller Founder’s Award – an award established in 2001 to honor outstanding champions for their service and leadership in the advancement of the organization’s mission.

“This award has a long-time connection to our firm and we’re extremely proud of Alyssa for carrying on the tradition of previous award winners,” adds Nicol.

Join us at one of 17 technical workshops, presentations or poster sessions at ACE19 to hear from our experts on various topics ranging from long-range smart master planning to the development of sustainability assessment tools and more.

external Download a full list of our participants