The status of instrumentation, control and automation (ICA) within the European wastewater community is reviewed and some major incentives and bottlenecks are defined. Future trends of ICA are also discussed. The information is based on a COST 624 workshop and a non-exhaustive survey with regard to ICA carried out in 13 European countries during March 2001. The level of instrumentation (type of sensors, usage frequency, etc.) and how these instruments are used for on-line control purposes are presented for each individual country (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland). The most common types of applied real-time control in wastewater treatment plants are given. One conclusion of the paper is that sensors no longer represent the main bottleneck for on-line control, rather the lack of plant flexibility is more troublesome. Moreover, the current transitional phase of the wastewater industry in Europe represents a unique opportunity to apply ICA on a large scale. The driving forces are simply too strong to ignore.

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