The incorporation of variability and uncertainty evaluations in WWTP design by means of stochastic dynamic modeling: the case of the Eindhoven WWTP upgrade

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This paper illustrates how a dynamic model can be used to evaluate a plant upgrade on the basis of post-upgrade performance data. The case study is that of the Eindhoven wastewater treatment plant upgrade completed in 2006. As a first step, the design process based on a static model was thoroughly analyzed and the choices regarding variability and uncertainty (i.e. safety factors) were made explicit. This involved the interpretation of the design guidelines and other assumptions made by the engineers. As a second step, a (calibrated) dynamic model of the plant was set up, able to reproduce the anticipated variability (duration and frequency). The third step was to define probability density functions for the parameters assumed to be uncertain, and propagate that uncertainty with the dynamic model by means of Monte Carlo simulations. The last step was the statistical evaluation and interpretation of the simulation results. This work should be regarded as a ‘learning exercise’ increasing the understanding of how and to what extent variability and uncertainty are currently incorporated in design guidelines used in practice and how model-based post-project appraisals could be performed.

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