Rockwell Automation, a company specializing in industrial automation and digital transformation, is working closely with Severn Trent, one of the UK's largest water companies, and its partners in providing artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to automate and monitor wastewater retention ponds in the UK. The collaboration, which is part of the first trial campaign of its kind, will take place in Alfreton, Derbyshire (northern England), and will test artificial intelligence until 2025, before continuing indefinitely. Artificial intelligence technology will be used to predict weather conditions, schedule maintenance operations and monitor waste flows, with a view to improving wastewater network management.
This project, supported by the Innovation Fund of the Office of Water (Ofwat), the UK's water regulator, aims to strengthen the water sector's capacity for innovation, enabling it to better respond to the changing needs of consumers, society and the environment. As part of this project, the implementation team will develop a proven model to validate the application of this approach across the UK.
Rockwell's innovative AI technology will enable Severn Trent's network to operate more efficiently, as well as predict and prevent problems before they occur - resulting in fewer activations in the event of overflow and better network management in the event of a storm.
Rich Walwyn, Head of Innovation and Asset Management at Severn Trent, explains: "This project has the potential to revolutionize the way we manage our waste networks. It's very exciting that innovation and technology are at the heart of this project."
Artificial intelligence enables the network to be predicted and operated under optimum conditions. For example, if heavy rain is forecast, the network will automatically optimize storage to cope with the extra flow and divert water away from overflows and sensitive points, reducing the risk of flooding and pollution for users. The technology will be deployed at Severn Trent's pumping stations, which will operate independently using real-time forecasts and displays.
"In other words, our customers and the environment will be better protected, and we'll be able to control the flow of excess precipitation to treatment plants more effectively. Artificial intelligence will help the network prepare for stormy conditions".added Rich Walwyn.
In addition to Rockwell Automation, Severn Trent has worked with other utilities such as Southern Water and Thames Water, as well as global innovation players including Blackburn Starling, BT, 8power and the University of Exeter.
Phil Hadfield, UK Sales Director for Rockwell Automation, comments: "We ensure collaborative access to specialist teams in networking, cybersecurity, AI and machine learning, and provide our expertise in IT and operational technologies (IT/OT) to deliver scalable solutions to all disciplines in the water sector."
Rockwell Automation specialists will work with Severn Trent to identify the best technologies and solutions from all suppliers, drawing on expertise gained in different sectors to develop a solution tailored to a specific application.