An ASM2da model of the full-scale waste water plant of Bree (Belgium) has been made. It showed very good correlation with reference operational data. This basic model has been extended to include an accurate calculation of environmental footprint and operational costs (energy consumption, dosing of chemicals and sludge treatment). Two optimisation strategies were compared: lowest cost meeting the effluent consent versus lowest environmental footprint. Six optimisation scenarios have been studied, namely (i) implementation of an online control system based on ammonium and nitrate sensors, (ii) implementation of a control on MLSS concentration, (iii) evaluation of internal recirculation flow, (iv) oxygen set point, (v) installation of mixing in the aeration tank, and (vi) evaluation of nitrate setpoint for post denitrification. Both an environmental impact or Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) based approach for optimisation are able to significantly lower the cost and environmental footprint. However, the LCA approach has some advantages over cost minimisation of an existing full-scale plant. LCA tends to chose control settings that are more logic: it results in a safer operation of the plant with less risks regarding the consents. It results in a better effluent at a slightly increased cost.

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