Adelaide, Australia - Water systems optimization company Optimatics was selected to provide software and services to assist with updating the wastewater network strategic improvement program for North Shore City in New Zealand. The objective of the study was to identify the combination of capital improvement projects which represented the least cost solution for the system and for the ratepayers of North Shore City.
North Shore City Council (NSCC) has a wastewater network strategic improvement program of approximately NZ$300 Million to be implemented by 2021. The target of the improvement program is to reduce wet-weather overflows from 12 a year to two a year by 2021. The goal was called for by residents, impacted on by pollution of streets and beaches after heavy rain.
NSCC Modelling Team Leader Nick Brown said that the optimization software provided by Optimatics enabled an informed debate around the best options for the network. “The improvement options identified for the NSCC collection system included parallel sewer augmentations, new flow path alternatives, pump station upgrades, inflow and infiltration (I/I) reduction, flow control storage facilities and wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) upgrades.
“Undertaking the optimization exercise resulted in significant cost savings for North Shore City Council and residents, much higher than that represented by manual refinements of the strategic improvement program,” said Mr Brown. “The optimized solution also improved system operation and future proofing when compared with our previous solution. This far better suits NSCC’s needs.”
Optimatics Wastewater Team Leader Joel Wilson said that at the time the project was commenced it was the largest scale application of Optimatics’ wastewater optimization technology. “The size and complexity of the NSCC optimization problem required several innovative advancements in the optimization technology,” said Mr Wilson. “We are proud to say that we successfully overcame the project challenges by developing a new hybrid technology specifically for optimizing complex wastewater network improvement programs. The new technology, a hybrid of genetic algorithm optimization, linear programming optimization, engineering logic and engineering analytics, is applied using parallel distributed computing to utilize the power of hundreds of computing resources working together on a single problem. The end result is an optimization technology which is more efficient, reliable and effective than other technologies used in the past.”
One of the organizations supporting Optimatics in its endeavour to optimize wastewater collection systems is the Water Industry Alliance, an association of 250 companies united behind the goal of growing Australia’s water services and technology exports. CEO Joe Flynn said, ”Australia is emerging as having a globally recognised capability in several distinct areas of water and one of these is in our asset management. Optimatics is one of the stars in this space and its ability to improve customer service levels while significantly reducing the lifecycle cost of wastewater systems is especially relevant now as water utilities are increasingly being asked to achieve more with their limited budgets.”
Facing a combination of affordability constraints, increasingly stringent environmental regulations, and aging infrastructure there is a distinct need within the wastewater industry to have tools which enable water utilities to investigate a broad range of planning alternatives and identify least-cost solutions. This need was recognized by Optimatics as well as global consulting engineering firm CH2M HILL. Five years ago the two firms worked together on a project to create the foundation technology which led to the development of wastewater optimization software. The project gained Australian Federal Government support through the AusIndustry Commercial Ready Grant program.
CH2M HILL’s Tim Coleman, Global Technology Leader, was a key person involved in the creation of the foundation technology and worked closely with Optimatics on a recent wastewater optimization project for Johnson County Wastewater in the United States. Mr Coleman commented, “It is nearly impossible to consider all possible combinations of storage and conveyance options along with system rehabilitation for each subcatchment without powerful optimization tools offered by Optimatics. Optimatics helped us complete a comprehensive evaluation of options for a client facing costly regulatory-driven solutions to sewer overflow problems to identify what our client feels is the most cost-effective solution. The solution was millions of dollars less than what was previously identified through traditional trial-and-error alternative evaluations completed as a part of prior master planning projects."
Regional Manager Asia Pacific for Optimatics, Paul Smith, is enthusiastic about the future of wastewater optimization for Optimatics. “I believe we have the right mix of innovative technology, software development capabilities, and exceptional engineering skills to deliver outstanding solutions for the wastewater industry in Asia Pacific and beyond,” said Mr Smith. “Optimatics recognizes the importance of providing specialist software and engineering services to solve the complex and unique requirements of each wastewater utility. Optimization allows utilities to get the most out of their hydraulic models and as more water utilities look for ways to provide a reliable, cost-effective service to their customers the market for optimization will continue to grow.”
Tim Anderson, CEO of Optimatics reflecting on the history of the company and the direction in which it is heading noted, “It is exciting to see the vision of the Optimatics Board for wastewater optimization become a reality. We are now well positioned to help water utilities across the globe to develop cost-effective design and operating solutions for both water and wastewater systems.”
Optimatics provides the water industry’s most powerful decision support tools and processes to enable optimal water services. Optimatics works with water and wastewater utilities in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK. Optimatics enables decision makers to optimize the planning, operations and management of their water and wastewater networks with its proprietary software, consulting and distributed computing solutions. The Optimatics mission is to empower its clients to be leaders in sustainability and responsive to the needs of their communities.
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