Tighter discharge permits often require wastewater treatment plants to maximize utilization of available facilities in order to cost-effectively reach these goals. Important aspects are minimizing internal disturbances and using available information in a smart way to improve plant performance. In this study, flow control throughout a large highly automated wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) was implemented in order to reduce internal disturbances and to provide a firm foundation for more advanced process control. A modular flow control system was constructed based on existing instrumentation and soft sensor flow models. Modules were constructed for every unit process in water treatment and integrated into a plant-wide model. The flow control system is used to automatically control recirculation flows and bypass flows at the plant. The system was also successful in making accurate flow estimations at points in the plant where it is not possible to have conventional flow meter instrumentation. The system provides fault detection for physical flow measuring devices. The module construction allows easy adaptation for new unit processes added to the treatment plant.

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