CPS Project on Managing Loosely Coupled Networked Control Systems with External Disturbances: Wastewater Processing

This project, "Managing Loosely Coupled Networked Control Systems with External Disturbances", is led by IIT Computer Science Professors, Xiang-Yang Li and Shangping Ren, together with two IIT Engineering faculty, Professor Paul Anderson from the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering and Professor Fouad Teymour from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. The award is a three-year National Science Foundation Expedition grant totaling $750,000, which is one of the 20 large and medium CPS projects funded by NSF in 2010. Our aim is to advance wastewater processing engineering procedures by taking advantages of available cyber technologies that can provide not only sufficient real-time accurate data collected from ground-based sensors, but also physics-based climate simulations to effectively predict the impact from nature on the wastewater processing.

This project is motivated by research issues identified through collaboration with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, which manages the Chicago Waterway System. The goal of this research is to understand the waterway as a Cyber-Physical System (CPS) --- one that combines computation with physical inputs and outputs --- and to provide a set of strategies and tools for meeting new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for ammonia regulation scheduled to take effect in 2014. We plan to update the waterway's systems by extending the systems with available technologies such as wireless sensors and networks, and by providing real-time, on-line monitoring and process control to minimize energy demands and carbon footprint associated with nutrient control.

The mission of the MWRDGC is to ``protect the health and safety of the public in its service area, protect the quality of the water supply source (Lake Michigan), improve the quality of water in watercourses in its service area, protect businesses and homes from flood damages, and manage water as a vital resource for its service area''. With a service area that stretches over 850 square miles and an equivalent population of more than ten million people, the goal of fulfilling that mission is challenging. Their ``system'' includes seven independent wastewater reclamation plants (WRPs) (one is the world's largest), two major pumping stations, 30 stormwater detention reservoirs, 109 miles of tunnels, 554 miles of intercepting sewers, and over 76 miles of navigable waterways. The total capacity of 7 WRPs is about 2 billion gallons per day. Treated effluent from these facilities is discharged to surface waters in the Chicago area. Many existing WRPs were built in 1930s-1940s. These facilities built decades ago were not designed for water quality required today. In addition, currently available treatment technologies can achieve the required water quality and they are much more energy efficient (approximately 3% of the electricity load in US is used on WRP processes. The concerns over effluent quality and energy consumptions of these legacy systems are growing. To overcome the challenges and meet the urgent needs in a timely and cost effective manner, we need to extend the legacy systems with available technologies, such as sensors and wireless networks, and provide real-time, on-line monitoring and process control to minimize energy demands and carbon footprint associated with nutrient control.
Calumet Water Reclamation Plant is the oldest of the seven wastewater treatment facilities within the metropolitan Chicago area Treatment Processes: Primary Treatment, secondary treatment, Tertiary Treatment

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