First autonomous wastewater treatment plant for Florida

FLORIDA, June 24, 2009 -- The Siemens Industry Automation and Drive Technologies Divisions have notched up a major achievement in the water and wastewater treatment sector: They have been awarded the contract from the US State of Florida to build the first autonomous wastewater treatment facility, known as a "dark plant"...

FLORIDA, June 24, 2009 -- The Siemens Industry Automation and Drive Technologies Divisions have notched up a major achievement in the water and wastewater treatment sector: They have been awarded the contract from the US State of Florida to build the first autonomous wastewater treatment facility, known as a "dark plant."

With Florida under increasing threat from water shortages, the local Department of Environmental Protection is providing funding for the upgrading and expansion of wastewater treatment plants in the State with a view to utilizing the purified water for irrigation or topping up the ground water reservoir. The owner and operator of Polk County Utilities supplies over 500,000 residents and maintains eleven sewage treatment plants.

One of these, the Northeast Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, is currently being upgraded from a capacity of 9,900 to over 34,500 cubic meters per day. The finished plant is set to replace two older facilities and to cope with the significantly increased wastewater volumes caused by an exploding population and increased industrial usage.

As part of the expansion project, the complete electrotechnical system is due for renewal. The entire switchover is planned to take place during running operation without interruption to the purification process. To make matters even more complex, there is no additional space available to accommodate the new system despite the stipulated increase in capacity. Another remit: A permanent reduction of operating and energy costs. The sewage treatment plant will be automated on the basis of Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) and Totally Integrated Power (TIP).

The unique aspect of the project: The consistent use of Siemens automation technology throughout means that for large parts of the day, the plant will run totally autonomously, in other words without human supervision. This aspect turns the facility into what is termed a "dark plant" -- the first of its kind in the USA.

From the client's perspective, it was the attractive economic benefits coupled with an increase in plant reliability and availability that clinched the deal for Siemens. Autonomous operation equals a marked reduction in operating costs. Together with the cost savings achieved through the use of efficient drives, the scheme is set to save the client an annual 75,000 US Dollars. The use of state-of-the-art Siemens technology means that the new plant will be able to fit into the existing available space, eliminating the need for a new building or any extension of the existing facility. The total potential for savings amounts to some 3.5 to 4.0 million US Dollars.

Alongside the many technical benefits, the positive cooperation between the Siemens sales departments of the Automation Motion Division (AMD), Power Conversion Sales (PCS) and SE&A Industrial Sales was a major contributory factor in the client's decision to opt for Siemens.

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