Clarkson students create model to simulate Potsdam's wastewater treatment performance
Monday, July 29, 2013 - 2:39 pm

Clarkson students Cheng Zhang (left), Ashley Waldron (second from right) and Fei Dai helped develop a computer simulation of the Potsdam Wastewater Treatment Plant. They are pictured here with Potsdam Water/Wastewater Treatment and Hydro Electric Power Chief Operator Robert M. Henninger.

POTSDAM -- Clarkson University students in an advanced wastewater treatment course recently created a model to simulate Potsdam’s wastewater treatment plant’s performance.

The model tries to predict how the plant would have to adjust to the additional wastewater that would be created if large construction projects like hotels, housing developments or shopping centers were to begin in Potsdam.

“It will assist plant operators in predicting treatment changes,” said Water/Wastewater Treatment and Hydro Electric Power Chief Operator Robert M. Henninger. “Basically it’s another set of eyes and ears and mind to help manage the plant.”

The model will allow the village to experiment with various simulated scenarios, such as potential improvements to make the plant more energy efficient, said Shane Rogers, the student’s professor. The model will illustrate how different parts of the plant would react if one part of it changed.

Future classes will continue the work that Rogers’ spring 2013 class began.

“The more data we took, the more accurate it became,” said student creator Ashley Waldron. “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 that’s already being updated.”