Continuous mass balancing defines a new standard in data quality validation. Likewise relying on the principles of mass conservation it outperforms long-term static mass balancing approaches because faults in data can be assigned to their time of occurrence. This research was carried out with practical application to routine operational data in mind and two major aspects are investigated to make this application feasible. Sludge concentrations of typically balanced components (chemical oxygen demand, total nitrogen, total phosphate) are not routinely measured in wastewater treatment plants. Therefore they need to be determined from alternative, more frequent measurements such as total suspended solids. To provide the necessary statistical basis for such determination, monthly sludge sampling was found sufficient. Further, contrary to long-term static mass balancing, the effects of delay between input and output loads must not be neglected in continuous mass balancing based on daily data. While a storage/release approach did not give the desired results, the consideration of hydraulic retention (first-order flow dynamics) fundamentally improved the performance of the proposed method.
- continuous mass balancing
- data quality control
- fault detection
- statistical process control
- First received 12 December 2014.
- Accepted in revised form 9 January 2015.
- © IWA Publishing 2015