POTSDAM - A computer simulation constructed by Clarkson University students will help staff at Potsdams Wastewater Treatment Plant manage future changes to the villages infrastructure.
Students in an advanced wastewater treatment course taught by Shane Rogers, an associate professor of civil & environmental engineering, began building the model during the spring semester to simulate the treatment plants performance.
If construction projects like hotels, housing developments and shopping centers rise in Potsdam, the completed model will predict how the plant must adjust to the additional wastewater they will create, according to Water/Wastewater Treatment and Hydro Electric Power Chief Operator Robert M. Henninger.
It will assist plant operators in predicting treatment changes, Henninger said. Basically its another set of eyes and ears and mind to help manage the plant.
When finished, the model will allow the village to experiment with various simulated scenarios, such as potential improvements to make the plant more energy efficient, Rogers said. The model will illustrate how different parts of the plant would react if one part of it changed.
Rogers said the project has been a learning experience both for the students and the villages staff, who have taught and learned from each other.
Theres a good win-win between the two, Rogers said. Its very synergistic.
To begin establishing the model, Ashley Waldron, a graduate student in civil engineering, was one of six students who visited the sewage treatment plant twice a week for over two months and spent several hours each day collecting and testing samples. She analyzed the wastewater for various properties to provide a more complete picture of the plants current condition.
Future classes will continue the work that Rogers spring 2013 class began.
The more data we took, the more accurate it became, Waldron said. It lets you know what the state of the water is at any point [in the treatment system]. It would be such a money saver for the wastewater treatment plant in the future if Clarkson could have this model thats already being updated.
Waldron was grateful for the real-world experience she gained through the project.
It was really helpful that instead of just talking about it, we were actually running those tests, Waldron said. If youre hired someday by someone that wants to have a place modeled, you already have college experience doing that.