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Smart Control of Wastewater

During Singapore’s International Water Week, many innovative and exciting developments towards sustainable and smart water systems were displayed. However, one crucial area that might have slipped under the radar is our wastewater network. As Singapore’s entire wastewater network is controlled by the Public Utilities Board (PUB), there are regulations pertaining to the discharge of wastewater from private sources into the overall network. In order to abide by the regulations, we must ensure that all systems, even wastewater discharge, are enhanced with the most updated and cutting-edge design and technology to control wastewater discharge.

How to control wastewater discharge

One component that can be integrated into smart systems are penstocks. A penstock, which is also widely known as a sluice gate, controls unpressurized wastewater systems. These wastewater systems can range from open-air systems, such as canals and under passageways, to more closed off systems like the underground drains or at the end of tunnels. In Singapore, it is typical to find penstocks at inspection chambers, as well as the Deep Tunnel Sewage System (DTSS).

The general layout of most penstocks consists of a sliding door that is operated by a central spindle. As the working environment and purpose differs for each project, every penstock must be tailored to ensure optimal performance. The various mechanical seals and materials would be determined by the location of installation, while the spindle can be operated by either a manual handwheel or with an actuator. Penstocks can be manually opened; a motorized penstock enables a whole host of new options and features that elevates it from a simple sliding door to a crucial and reactive component in a smart system.

Smart options

One such option would involve the usage of sensors. The sensor suite for each penstock will include the necessary sensors for the penstock to carry out its function autonomously. Penstocks which are meant to control the amount of discharge fluid might use level sensors, which will activate the penstock when the specified high or low levels are reached. On the other hand, emergency shut-off penstocks will have sensor suites that can read the hazardous chemical or condition. This is especially important in Singapore as wastewater must conform to the standards set in the Environmental Protection and Management Act (EPMA) and Environmental Protection and Management (Trade Effluent) Regulations.

Another option for penstock integration is the connection and control of the actuator and sensor suite to the building management system. This system integration would allow the penstock to be operated on both sensor outputs as well as a predefined schedule. This would allow for fully autonomous control of the wastewater network while simultaneously providing more comprehensive data at a greater frequency.

One example of an integrated emergency shut-off penstock in the Food and Beverage industry is when the penstock’s sensor suite includes an oil and grease level sensor. When the grease trap overflows or fails to function, the oil and grease level sensor will activate. The activation of the sensor will alert the building management while simultaneously closing the penstock to prevent unfiltered wastewater from entering the main wastewater system.

With the implementation of such sensor suites and links to the building management systems, such penstocks allow for a greater level of integration and control of the overall wastewater system.

For more information on how to configure the penstock and sensor suite for your particular purpose, please contact us through our email: or call us at 67422770.




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