Engineering team honored in water systems challenge

A team led by Zhen (Jason) He, professor of energy, environmental and chemical engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, won second place in the 2021 Intelligent Water Systems Challenge (IWSC). IWSC is jointly organized by the Water Research Foundation and the Water Environment Federation to demonstrate the value of intelligent water systems to utilities and thereby foster adoption of smart water technologies.

Group picture of the 2nd place team in the 2021 Intelligent Water Systems Challenge
A team led by Zhen (Jason) He, professor, and Yanran Xu, a PhD student, earned second place at the 2021 IWSC, which was held at the McCormick Center in Chicago.

The team, which included Yanran Xu, a PhD student in He’s lab, and partners from the American Bottom Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility and from engineering consulting firm Greeley and Hansen, was recognized for their solution to real-world challenges of pH control at the Physical-Chemical Wastewater Treatment Plant in Sauget, Ill.

Their solution would predict the pH of three neutralizer tanks using well-trained machine learning models based on the current datasets of the wastewater treatment system and make recommendations for better manual control. They hope the results can be used to formulate a strategy for precise control of chemical dosage, which costs nearly $1 million per year at that plant.

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