Pilot project tests AI to improve water treatment in Drayton Valley
In a town west of Edmonton, experts are trying to figure out if a machine can be taught to “think” like the skilled technicians who help keep Alberta’s drinking water clean.
In what is believed to be a first-of-its-kind pilot project, engineers and researchers have set up a mini water treatment machine inside Drayton Valley’s larger facility, about 200 kilometres from the capital.
There, armed with artificial intelligence and sensors for everything from water transparency and temperature to Ph levels and conductivity, that small machine has been gathering baseline data since October on the multi-stage process used to clean water.
The goal is, by late spring or early summer, to ask the smart system to find efficiencies in the process and potentially create something that could be used by small communities struggling to have clean water.
The project is being spearheaded by Edmonton’s ISL Adapt. Jason Kopan, the company’s lead water infrastructure engineer, said professionals running treatment facilities are constantly tweaking the steps involved in cleaning water and the process has become more complicated as water has become more contaminated.