Utah State University

E-Learning via an Interactive Wastewater Treatment Plant Simulation

Utah State University, is considered on of the most respected facilites of its kind; offering on-site and e-learning opportunities for students. Utah State’s Water Research Laboratory, is the first and largest university- based water research facility in the United States, with over 50 years or research, working on water-related problems throughout the US, all while training the next generation.

Overview

Skapa developed a web-based Training and Simulation System for Wastewater Plant Operators as a part of an NSF grant. The solution offers entry-level operators the opportunity to gain experience operating and maintaining a plant through interactive simulation models. It includes a realistic biological water modeling engine, to provide test results and water quality data to the student and instructor.

A screenshot of the Aerators

Realistic Simulation

The simulation is modeled on common plant components and includes animations to provide students with the appropriate context and triggers to reinforce the learning experience. The plant overview allows the student to view the entire plant and optimize an individual section by operating the components and provides lab tests for analysis.

A screenshot of the Treatment component

Integration with Biological Model

The chlorination chamber (featured to the right), allows students to provide a final treatment assessment and make adjustments to the chemicals to achieve the required permit limits. The software includes a biological model that computes critical effluent levels (dissolved oxygen, fecal coliform counts, pH, residual chlorine, among others) and allows the student to run lab tests and get data results. Additionally, the instructor can monitor the student’s applied knowledge and provide guidance.

A screenshot of the Plant

Dynamic Scoring Model

The instructor can provide students with pre-set scenarios to test their ability to handle real on-site occurances, such as a surge in inflow due to a high water event, or a dramatic changes in pH levels, and other possibilities. Students are given visual clues with changes in water color, which are based on the biological model that tracks pH, dissolved oxygen, food-to-mass ratio and other key indicators. Additionally, the application calculates a dynamic score based on the actions that the student did or did not take.

A screenshot of the digester