New software provides better estimation of wastewater treatment plant costs

The software is a planning level design and costing tool that allows the user to “drag-and-drop” unit processes to build a wastewater treatment plant schematic, automatically calculate a design and then estimate the cost to build, operate and maintain the facility.


The product, named CapdetWorks, has been developed by Canadian-based Hydromantis Inc., the market leader in wastewater treatment process modelling and simulation technology. Its makers say that the software is more comprehensive at the planning level than current engineering practices, which primarily use empirical modelling techniques in combination with cost databases.

The empirical techniques involve the gathering of historical capital and operating costs of similar size plants with similar wastewater and treatment characteristics, which Hydromantis says, often estimate the cost based on only a single wastewater parameter such as wastewater flow rate. CapdetWorks is more comprehensive system in that the design is based on all the characteristics of the wastewater being treated. These include design algorithms to derive, for example, the volume of concrete required for the aeration tank or the number, type and capacity of the mechanical equipment required.

About sixty treatment processes are provided including physical/chemical,

biological, biosolids stabilisation, handling and de-watering technologies.

From the users plant layout, the software automatically calculates the required unit process dimensions and equipment and allows the engineer to override any of the calculated designs. According to Hydromantis, there is a sophisticated ‘scenario management’ feature that encourages the user to layout many treatment alternatives and rapidly calculate and compare costs between them. Capital and operational costs for each process technology can be localised or the user can create their own cost index or apply published industry cost indices to the default values.

Wastewater treatment facilities are expensive to build and operate, says

Laurence Smith, Marketing Manager at Hydromantis. There are numerous wastewater challenges around the globe, but limited government budgets to address these challenges mean there is a growing need for productivity tools to help engineers design plants cost effectively. CapdetWorks was developed to fulfil this need and is now available for most Microsoft Windows operating systems, costing US$ 2,450 per license, but free evaluations can be downloaded from the company web site.

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