Abstract

Wastewater flow forecasting is key for proper management of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). However, to predict the amount of incoming wastewater in WWTPs, wastewater engineers face challenges arising from numerous complexities and uncertainties, such as the nonlinear precipitation-runoff relationships in combined sewer systems, unpredictability due to aging infrastructure, and frequently inconsistent data quality. To address such challenges, a time series analysis model (i.e., the autoregressive integrated moving average, ARIMA) and an artificial neural network model (i.e., the multilayer perceptron neural network, MLPNN) were developed for predicting wastewater inflow. A case study of the Barrie Wastewater Treatment Facility in Barrie, Canada, was carried out to demonstrate the performance of the proposed models. Fifteen-minute flow data over a period of 1 year were collected, and the resampled daily flow data were used to train and validate the developed models. The model performances were examined using root mean square error, mean absolute percentage error, coefficient of determination, and Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency. The results indicate that both models provided reliable forecasts, while ARIMA showed a slightly better performance than MLPNN in this case study. The proposed models can provide useful decision support for the optimization and management of WWTPs.

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