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Scottish Water transforms wastewater network management

IoT sensors and real-time data enhance customer experience and protect the environment

At a glance

Scottish Water partnered with Atos to upgrade its wastewater network — from deploying smart sensors to providing real-time insights such as early warnings, reducing environmental and customer impact from chokes and pollution incidents. This collaborative project will continue to evolve into machine learning approaches to maximize predictive capabilities and the value of real-time data.

Outcomes

  • Real-time wastewater network monitoring
  • Ability to detect, respond and prevent incidents quickly
  • Reduction in environmental pollution events and a decreased impact on customers
  • Improved data outputs to align with Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA)
  • Operational resilience with future flow predictions

Scottish Water

“Through the installation of sensors to check for network performance, blockages and abnormalities, we were aware that this would be a huge business change.”

Ally Gorst
Product Owner – WWIN Solution
Scottish Water

Diving into turbid torrents

Treating and delivering water for more than 2 million customers is an incredible task, especially in the face of rising environmental issues. In recent years, Scottish Water has witnessed the rate of climate change and its significant impact on the environment and customer lives with environmental pollution incidents and sewer chokes.

Scottish Water understood that moving to a proactive and predictive approach would transform how it manages the wastewater network. The utility would have real-time insights to what is happening, allowing them to schedule interventions rather than just respond to events, avoiding customer inconvenience and environmental impact.

Transitioning to a smart sewer network and utilizing real-time data insights would give the utility provider control to reduce the risk of flooding and pollution incidents with real-time event notifications. Additionally, this would help Scottish Water to align with statutory regulations from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA). Eager to overhaul its wastewater network management systems to align with eco-friendly environmental mandates, Scottish Water selected Atos as its partner for the Wastewater Intelligent Network (WWIN) project.

Making a smart choice with Atos’s wastewater management solution

Building on a longstanding partnership, Scottish Water leveraged Atos’s expertise in the utility sector and digital transformation skills to deliver this project. One of the key suggestions from Atos was to maximize the value of an intelligent network by targeting areas for the most beneficial deployment. The installation required a phased roll-out of intelligent network technology and leveraging data from business information modelling to assign resources effectively.

Atos was chosen as the lead partner to implement the end-to-end wastewater management project. A third-party professional services firm was engaged for the physical installation, field validation and configuration. Atos also arranged the procurement and selection of the level and flow sensors. Last but far from least, Atos provided the necessary cloud integrations, system architecture, built environment and associated data processing and visualization.

The first phase included several activities that played a pivotal role in transforming Scottish Water’s wastewater network management:

  1. Establishing a strong data collection infrastructure by selecting advanced IoT sensor technology to ensure secure, uninterrupted data capture
  2. Managing the installation of IoT sensors
  3. Delivering a robust, secure and scalable data platform that receives data from the installed sensors in the network, routes and processes it, and raises necessary notifications or alarms to any abnormal behavior
  4. Extracting data insights from the IoT platform to populate dashboards, reports and future predictive models, as well as analytics to understand and maintain normal operations
  5. Managing day-to-day operations to ensure seamless functioning, and maintain or handle any changes

The six-month pilot phase involved the rollout of nearly 300 sensors at four Drainage Operation Areas (DOAs), and the implementation of an IoT platform, data analytics and visualizations. Real-time insights from the sensors, dashboards and timely reports were instrumental in quicker deployments and clean-ups in those areas prone to flooding and choking, thereby reducing the number of incidents following the pilot phase.

In the second phase, due to start in September 2022, the solution will be scaled up to ensure that nearly 4,000 sensors are deployed across Scotland with increased capabilities added to the platform. This includes integration with existing telemetry data and the introduction of enhanced artificial intelligence and machine learning. Atos will also support the people and process change management that will be needed to transfer the intelligent network into business as usual.

“The number of stakeholders, and complexity and scale of existing processes across our organization require a high degree of consultation and cross-team collaboration. Not only did Atos steer the WWIN project successfully from end to end but also worked closely with our teams and partners to launch the pilot phase within six short months,” said Ally Gorst, Product Owner – WWIN Solution, Scottish Water.

A customer-driven and environment-focused approach with a successful outcome

The solution has positively impacted Scottish Water, its end customers and the environment, delivering results such as:

  • The ability to detect, respond and mitigate incidents quickly, with accurate real-time insights to proactively manage the wastewater network
  • An enhanced monitoring network around Scottish Water’s bathing waters
  • Reduced environmental pollution events from the network
  • Increased compliance with Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA)

In addition, the project has led to a decrease in environmental pollution events from the network, as well as the number of customers impacted by incidents such as flooded sewers.

“The data insights from this project have already proven instrumental in helping us detect and avoid pollution incidents in the last few months. The pace of delivery has resulted in some challenges along the way, but the initiative has exceeded expectation and is delivering benefits to our customers and the environment — even in its infancy,” said Gorst.

Early success of WWIN

In July 2022, a sensor in a drainage area …

  1. Detected a surge

  2. Raised an alarm via the dashboard

  3. Notified the response team

… all before the increase could overflow.

Caught unaware

A pump failure was to blame. But a communication fault with the pumping station left the control room unaware of the failure.

No harm

Yet, sensitive bathing water stayed safe.

 

 

blue arrow right

wrench in hand icon

How?

Waste Water Intelligent Network

The platform clearly identified the problem. From there, swift repairs prevented contamination.

July 2022:
An early success of the WWIN solution

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Detected a significant increase in drainage

Meanwhile, a communication fault with the pumping station left the control room unaware that the pumps had failed.

Raised an alarm via
the dashboard

Sensitive bathing water stayed safe.

wrench in hand icon

Triggered a notification to the response team

The platform clearly identified the problem. From there, swift repairs prevented contamination.

Why Atos

Atos combines technology and industry expertise to deliver solutions for utilities across the globe — transforming water treatment and supply networks, reducing leakages, avoiding supply interruptions, improving customer experience and extending the lifecycle of assets.

Learn how smart water management from Atos can create a more sustainable water network and advance your net-zero journey.

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