A comprehensive approach for diagnosing opportunities for improving the performance of a WWTP
High quality services of wastewater treatment require a continuous assessment and improvement of the technical, environmental and economic performance. This paper demonstrates a comprehensive approach for benchmarking wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), using performance indicators (PIs) and indices (PXs), in a ‘plan-do-check-act’ cycle routine driven by objectives. The performance objectives herein illustrated were to diagnose the effectiveness and energy performance of an oxidation ditch WWTP. The PI and PX results demonstrated an effective and reliable oxidation ditch (good–excellent performance), and a non-reliable UV disinfection (unsatisfactory–excellent performance) related with influent transmittance and total suspended solids. The energy performance increased with the treated wastewater volume and was unsatisfactory below 50% of plant capacity utilization. The oxidation ditch aeration performed unsatisfactorily and represented 38% of the plant energy consumption. The results allowed diagnosing opportunities for improving the energy and economic performance considering the influent flows, temperature and concentrations, and for levering the WWTP performance to acceptable–good effectiveness, reliability and energy efficiency. Regarding the plant reliability for fecal coliforms, improvement of UV lamp maintenance and optimization of the UV dose applied and microscreen recommissioning were suggested.