Efficient Integrated Real-time Control in Urban Drainage and Wastewater Treatment Plants for Environmental Protection


Efficient Integrated Real-time Control in Urban Drainage and Wastewater Treatment Plants for Environmental Protection

Integrated Real-Time Control for Efficient and Sustainable Urban Drainage and Wastewater Treatment operation

The LIFE EFFIDRAIN project aims to demonstrate an integrated real-time control strategy for urban drainage networks and wastewater treatment plants. It seeks to minimize pollutant discharge into receiving waters by implementing this strategy in pilot sites in Bordeaux and Badalona. The project’s objectives include showcasing the integrated operation in virtual demonstrations, assessing the benefits compared to existing strategies, and validating the solution’s applicability in various urban areas.

The project includes installing sensors, developing an optimal control methodology to reduce the impact of urban drainage and sanitation systems on the environment during wet weather scenarios, developing a software demonstrator to assess the proposed methodology in the pilot sites. The goal is to improve efficiency and minimize pollutant impact on receiving waters.

Integrated Operation of Urban Drainage and Wastewater systems for reducing impacts on the environment during wet weather 

Combined urban drainage networks (UDNs) collect wastewater and stormwater but can be overwhelmed during heavy rainfall, causing untreated water discharges called combined sewer overflows (CSOs). Modern UDNs use storage infrastructure to manage heavy rain and gradually release water to wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Real-time control (RTC) techniques based on model predictive control (MPC) effectively manage UDNs but focus mainly on flow rates, neglecting water quality variations. LIFE EFFIDRAIN proposed an Integrated operation of UDNs and WWTPs based on MPC considering the quantity and quality in order to reduce impacts of these systems on the environment during wet weather.

Closeup shot of the glass of a window covered by rain droplets - for backgrounds and textures

Managing Combined Sewer Overflows through Integrated operation of Urban Drainage and Sanitation Systems

The LIFE-EFFIDRAIN project successfully minimized combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and associated pollutant loads by coordinating urban drainage networks and wastewater treatment plants during wet weather. Through real-time control and following an integrated operation  approach, the project virtual demonstrations showed how to effectively manage pollutant loads in CSOs reducing the impact on the receiving waters. The use of existing infrastructure and optimization techniques significantly reduced CSO volumes and pollutant loads at a lower cost compared to investing in new infrastructure. 

Customized software simulated integrated urban drainage systems for pilot schemes in Badalona and Bordeaux during rain events, achieving notable reductions in pollutant mass. The project’s methods are valuable for optimizing CSO and pollutant management, meeting environmental objectives, and complying with regulations. Efficient and environmentally friendly use of existing infrastructure is crucial, especially in areas with swimming waters or biodiversity-rich habitats affected by CSO pollutant loads.

LIFE EFFIDRAIN is a European project co-funded by the LIFE Programme (LIFE14 ENV/ES/000860), the European Union’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. This website reflects only the author’s view. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

Budget: 2170801 €
Duration: October 2015 - March 2019
Coordinator: Cetaqua

CSOs reduction in comparison with the baseline


Mass reduction released to the environment in comparison with the baseline

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