INKA dynamic sewer network control

Software for safe and efficient sewer network optimization

Optimized water protection for different sewer networks

Intelligent management of the storage capacity in the sewer system makes a major contribution to water pollution control: it reduces overflows, makes optimum use of the storage volume in the sewer system and ensures the hydraulic capacity utilization of the wastewater treatment plant. Scientific studies show that INKA significantly improves water protection – regardless of whether the system is used in small sewer networks, in urban networks or in extensive and large catchment areas.

Algorithm-based and model-supported

INKA’s control intelligence is based on a highly developed and standardized algorithm. INKA therefore behaves in the same way in every sewer network, which strengthens traceability. The network configurator is used to adjust the system to different conditions. A sewer network simulation model is integrated into INKA, which continuously predicts discharges and fill levels on the basis of measurement and weather radar data, thus providing the INKA algorithm with information from the future.

The most used channel control system in Europe

INKA is a universal system that can be used in any sewer network and can be coupled to any process control system. It is the most widespread and most used sewer network control system in Europe.

Developed with partners and supported by the swiss federation

The Swiss Federal Office for the Environment FOEN supported the development of INKA through STEBATEC, which developed the system in cooperation with EAWAG, UMTEC and other partners, in a team consisting of urban drainage, environmental technology, database and automation engineers.

Read more: The INKA road drainage system transports more polluted rainwater to the wastewater treatment plant without overloading the combined sewer system.


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Technical information

How INKA is integrated into existing systems

INKA is a software that can be linked to any process control system. INKA communicates with the various structures via existing data communication infrastructures and processes measurement data from discharge and level measurements in order to adjust the discharge controllers to an optimal transfer quantity. The coupling of INKA to existing systems requires detailed planning and also requires services from the manufacturer of the process control system. Not only must measured data be transferred and optimal transfer quantities be taken over via Modbus interface, but also a fallback program (fallback strategy), which is included in the scope of delivery of INKA with the following variant B and implemented by the control system supplier with variant A.

  • Option A: Connection to existing process control systems

    Option A: Connection to existing process control systems

    This variant assumes that the customer’s automation company only transmits verified measurement data to the INKA software and, in case of failure of individual system components, independently establishes the fallback mode.

  • Option B: Integration into existing infrastructure

    Option B: Integration into existing infrastructure

    INKA communicates directly via the existing network with its own software modules, which are included in the INKA scope of delivery and are installed on the customer’s control systems in the external buildings.

  • Option C: Integrated in ARAbella online and ARAbella local

    Option C: Integrated in ARAbella online and ARAbella local

    INKA is integrated into the powerful process control systems ARAbella online and ARAbella local.

  • Minimum requirements for sewer networks

    Minimum requirements for sewer networks

    In order for INKA to be activated or sewer networks to be dynamically controlled, the following minimum technical requirements should be met:

    • Networking of stormwater tanks and measuring points using permanent data communication
    • Continuous level measurements in the basins and storage channels
    • Controllable and reliable flow controllers
    • Fallback function in case of communication and power failure


Proven and user-friendly system

  • Proven, widely used system
  • Parameterizable system without individual programming
  • Very easy to use with the network configurator and tool bar
  • Optimal use of existing infrastructure such as storage basins and transport capacity
  • Channel network control adapted to the rain dynamics
  • Best possible water protection due to fewer overflows
  • Saving new construction of additional basins with control technology
  • Promotes sewer network understanding and knowledge


Why INKA contributes to water protection

Wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) are designed to treat averagely large amounts of wastewater for economic reasons. In the dominant mixed system (wastewater and rainwater are collected together) the wastewater quantities exceed the capacities of the wastewater treatment plant in rainy weather. This leads to untreated or partially treated overflows into rivers and lakes. How critical the situation is is shown by surveys which estimate the proportion of untreated wastewater discharged at twenty percent. In some cases, high concentrations of problematic substances, such as pesticides, biocides or faecal bacteria, are discharged directly into watercourses. To prevent such occurrences, a great deal of money has already been invested in retention and stormwater tanks. These catch the rainwater and, after the rainfall event has subsided, channel it in a controlled manner to the sewage treatment plants. On the one hand, however, these basins are often only rudimentarily equipped with a control system and on the other hand, the entire sewage system is usually designed for rapid forwarding, so that the capacity of the basins located further up is not fully utilized. In addition, the fixed transfer quantities to the sewage treatment plant are not optimal, especially if the catchment areas are not irrigated equally. Simply building further retention basins is not only forbidden for financial reasons or because of the large amount of land required. Rather, the existing systems should first be better used.

What INKA does

The sewer network control software INKA ensures that the ARA is always efficiently utilized in the event of rainfall events and that excess wastewater quantities in the sewer network – including rain and retention basins as well as the sewer volumes – are retained in a controlled and optimized manner. The software processes thereby measured data from the sewer system, information about the conditions of the waters as well as precipitation data and prognoses and computes from it the optimal forwarding quantities at the places equipped with discharge regulators. The INKA controller pursues the following overriding goals:

  1. Minimum consumption of storage volumes in the sewer system, if the sewage treatment plant is not hydraulically utilized to 100%.
  2. Filling the storage volumes with as little polluted wastewater as possible.
  3. No discharge into the receiving waters as long as not all storage tanks are full.
  4. Controlled discharges into receiving waters under consideration of the water quality and load capacity of the respective receiving water.
  5. Energy-saving sewer network operation, if water cannot be processed in the sewage treatment plant during heavy rainfall anyway.

The use of the retention volume of the existing sewer network increases the capacity of the existing infrastructure and thus significantly reduces the overflows of untreated wastewater. In addition, optimal management of the existing infrastructure eliminates the need for high investments that would be required for additional construction measures.

Infrastructure configuration via Tool-Bar

The INKA user interface enables a modular replication of the existing sewer network and the associated components. Duct sections can be inserted and configured with some key data so that the INKA controller can orient itself on them. For example, the associated flow times must be assigned to two different discharge values so that the system can automatically calculate all other values linearly. In addition, the maximum flow capacity of the pipeline must be defined. Further modules such as retention volume, discharge controller, flow measurements and precipitation sensors can be individually created. The modeling interface also allows the animation of recorded measurement data, whereby rain events and the changing levels can be played back for analysis purposes.

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