Temporal performance assessment of wastewater treatment plants by using multivariate statistical analysis

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Journal of Environmental Management


For most water treatment plants, a significant number of performance data variables are attained on a time series basis. Due to the interconnectedness of the variables, it is often difficult to assess over-arching trends and quantify operational performance. The objective of this study was to establish simple and reliable predictive models to correlate target variables with specific measured parameters. This study presents a multivariate analysis of the physicochemical parameters of municipal wastewater. Fifteen quality and quantity parameters were analyzed using data recorded from 2010 to 2016. To determine the overall quality condition of raw and treated wastewater, a Wastewater Quality Index (WWQI) was developed. The index summarizes a large amount of measured quality parameters into a single water quality term by considering pre-established quality limitation standards. To identify treatment process performance, the interdependencies between the variables were determined by using Principal Component Analysis (PCA). The five extracted components from the 15 variables accounted for 75.25% of total dataset information and adequately represented the organic, nutrient, oxygen demanding, and ion activity loadings of influent and effluent streams. The study also utilized the model to predict quality parameters such as Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), Total Phosphorus (TP), and WWQI. High accuracies ranging from 71% to 97% were achieved for fitting the models with the training dataset and relative prediction percentage errors less than 9% were achieved for the testing dataset. The presented techniques and procedures in this paper provide an assessment framework for the wastewater treatment monitoring programs.

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