No Autopilot for Water Treatment Plants

Water Treatment Operators have been one of the most under-equipped professionals. Other industries have successfully adopted ways to improve their most coveted decision-makers' performance, leaving life-sustaining water behind. Now, Operators are expected to meet incredibly increased demands with the same time and tools that were developed decades ago. Is automation the way?

Yes, and most certainly, no. Airplanes don’t fly themselves. They certainly take off, fly, and land using technology like autopilot. But pilots never know what they’re going to face. So, there’s not only one, but two highly trained humans, a Captain and First Officer, who own every decision. Dozens or hundreds of souls are at stake just as Water Operators are relied upon for each person in their community. Pilots also fly with instrumentation, all of which did not exist at one time. Some instruments are staples and cannot, and should not, be changed. Other technological advances have produced increased safety we expect, yet not possible with 1950’s equipment.

Jar testing is the most relied-upon method of narrowing water treatment chemical dosing choices for maintaining quality. Jar tests are not without their limitations, though. You can only run so many tests before decisions have to be made. And there are only so many objectives that can be covered at one time, with each dosing affecting the other objectives, it makes the entire set of decisions a moving target. As a result, improving water quality and dosing cannot possibly be optimized given today’s tools.

Individual hardware solutions also promise to continually inform operators of current conditions and some add the best way of addressing that challenge. Not only are these chemical dose recommendations done in a vacuum among multiple objectives, but some don’t accurately scale, giving inaccurate results. For example, the complaints we’ve heard from several Zeta-potential equipment users (although many are still technically owners, are former users) imply these were expensive mistakes.

The best of worlds would combine the accuracy of individual jar testing with an almost unlimited ability to run them across many objectives, instantly and as often as needed, predict the entire set of outcomes, and produce recommendations in a practical way water operators can use.

Fontus Blue set out eleven years ago to solve this dilemma with better decision support for Water Treatment Operators so they can make even more informed, accurate, and timely choices. It took years to develop this leap in affordable treatment optimization.

Decision Blue was the result, that has not only assisted Water Treatment Operators in producing even better water quality but at an optimized, reduced chemical dosing cost. This not only subsidizes the cost of the system but often returns an ROI.

Much like aircraft instrumentation, no matter how complex the science, the result is delivered much like the indicators in a cockpit, visually, designed by, and for use by, water treatment professionals.

Explore the 1.6 billion virtual jar tests run by Fontus Blue clients in 2023!

Water Treatment Optimization with Fontus Blue

Why do Water Treatment Operators need better tools for decision-making?

Water Treatment Operators face increased demands with outdated tools, hindering their ability to optimize water quality and dosing. Upgrading water treatment tools is crucial to meet contemporary challenges and ensure efficient water treatment.

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Is automation the solution for Water Treatment Operators?

Automation is beneficial, but it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. Similar to airplanes using autopilot, Water Treatment Operators require a balance of technology and human expertise. Automation, like Fontus Blue's Decision Blue, enhances decision-making without replacing the essential role of operators.

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How does Jar testing impact water quality decisions, and what are its limitations?

Jar testing is a common method for dosing decisions, but it has limitations. The tests are time-consuming, and decisions must be made based on a limited set of objectives. With interdependencies among dosing objectives, Jar testing becomes a moving target, hindering optimization

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Can individual hardware solutions provide accurate information for water treatment decisions?

While individual hardware solutions offer real-time data, they often lack scalability and accuracy. Some solutions may not align with multiple objectives, leading to inaccurate results. Fontus Blue's Decision Blue aims to combine accuracy with unlimited testing capabilities, providing practical recommendations for water operators.

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How does Fontus Blue's Decision Blue address the challenges Water Treatment Operators face?

Decision Blue, developed by Fontus Blue, is a leap in affordable treatment optimization. It combines the accuracy of individual jar testing with the ability to run tests across numerous objectives instantly. This allows Water Treatment Operators to predict outcomes, optimize treatment dosing, and improve water quality, often resulting in a return on investment.

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The Author

Byron Druss is a Market Advisor at Fontus Blue, specializing in emerging WaterTech companies. As a Local Water Commissioner in his community, he is passionate about improving the reliability, quality, and distribution of exceptional water firsthand.

About Fontus Blue

Fontus Blue houses a team of dedicated experts who work to ensure clean water for all. With data science and water quality expertise, we custom-tailor solutions to meet your specific water quality needs. Our proven success and commitment to optimizing water treatment empowers water utilities to make informed decisions, redefining standards for water quality and accessibility.

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