Multi-step ahead prediction of hourly influent characteristics for wastewater treatment plants: a case study from North America
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Prediction of influent characteristics, before any treatment takes place, is of great importance to the operation and management of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). In this study, four machine-learning models, including multilayer perceptron (MLP), long short-term memory network (LSTM), K-nearest neighbour (KNN), and random forest (RF), are introduced to utilize real-time wastewater data from three WWTPs in North America (i.e., Tres Rios, Woodward, and one confidential plant) for predicting hourly influent characteristics. Input variables are selected using an autocorrelation analysis and a variable importance measure from RF. Both univariate and multivariate analyses are investigated to improve model accuracy. The performances of one- and multiple-step-ahead models are compared. With a short prediction horizon, all the models derived from both univariate and multivariate analyses show excellent performance. It was found that the performance deterioration as the prediction horizon expands could be mitigated significantly by including extra variables, such as meteorological variables. This work can provide valuable support for the high-temporal-resolution prediction of wastewater influent characteristics for WWTPs. The proposed models can also bridge the gap between data and decision-making in the wastewater sector.
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