‘Classical’ real-time control (RTC) strategies in sewer systems are based on water level and flow measurements with the goal of activation of retention volume. The control system rule of ‘clean (storm water) runoff into the receiving water – polluted runoff into the treatment plant’ has been thwarted by rough operating conditions and lack of measurements. Due to the specific boundary conditions in the city of Wuppertal's separate sewer system (clean stream water is mixed with polluted storm water runoff) a more sophisticated – pollution-based – approach was needed. In addition the requirements to be met by the treatment of storm water runoff have become more stringent in recent years. To separate the highly-polluted storm water runoff during rain events from the cleaner stream flow a pollution-based real-time control (P-RTC) system was developed and installed. This paper describes the measurement and P-RTC equipment, the definition of total suspended solids as the pollution-indicating parameter, the serviceability of the system, and also gives a cost assessment. A sensitivity analysis and pollution load calculations have been carried out in order to improve the P-RTC algorithm. An examination of actual measurements clearly shows the ecological and economic advantages of the P-RTC strategy.

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