Wastewater  management  and  drinking  water  treatment  plants  and  distribution  systems  are  engineering works of primary importance for the development of society. Indeed the treatment of wastewater and the supply of good quality water in due quantity is an essential requirement for achieving high life standards.

In 2015, Fondazione Cariplo called for proposals to support a project with the topic of Research of water pollution for a correct management of the hydraulic resource. A team composed by the research groups of professors from Politecnico di Milano and Università degli studi di Milano proposed and won the grant with project Drinkable: DRINKing wAter resilient management comBining process anaLyses, CFD and innovative sEnsor monitoring.  Joining the knowledge of the groups involved, the project team counts expertise in fluid dynamic, environmental, water treatment, electronic and chemical fields. 












The  present  project  is  aimed  at  defining  an  integrated  approach  for  the  retrofitting  of  existing disinfection tanks combining process analysis, modeling, CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) simulations with innovative and miniaturized sensors, connected in a network able to provide on-line monitoring and real-time feedback for the optimization of the disinfection processes.

These sensors will be integrated in a single platform that we call “smart pipe”, which can be embedded in the tank or in any pipe section to realize a stand-alone (but networkable) multi-purpose intelligent device. Our research group designed a test plant to study the functioning of smart pipe. The plant is being assembled and will operate soon. 

Among the many activities of the project, an important part, that our group will study, concerns the fluid dynamics characterization of the chlorine contact basin through CFD methods.

To calibrate the numerical model, we performed experimental tests with a Doppler instrument in order to obtain the velocity profiles of the flow in different sections of the channels. The comparison of numerical and experimental data allowed to verify the CFD results and consequently use the numerical model to extend the research, without the necessity of expensive lab tests.











After the fluid dynamic validation, the diffusion of a tracer has been investigated. An example of the comparison between the experimental data and the numerical results is showed in the graph aside. The dots represents the experimental trend of the tracer response in the last channel of the contact basin.

The curves are the numerical trends obtained with the CFD model varying the Schimtd number.

Future developments involve the numerical analysis of the chlorine decay and microbial inactivation, implementing and comparing several kinetic models.


World Water day - 22 March 2016

For the World Water Day of 2016, a special exposition has been prepared to publicly  show the work of DrinkAble project. Our research group installed the smart-loop outdoor to demonstrate the functioning of smart-pipe, combined with the use of GreenValve. The first prototype of smart-pipe included conductivity, temperature and pH sensors. The demonstration consisted in a real-time monitoring of these parameters, showing the reliability of the integrated system of sensors, even varying the flow conditions of the plant. The use of GreenValve enabled the possibility to feed Smart-pipe directly with the energy recovered by GreenValve, creating a stand alone system, able to work with any grid connection. For more information about the World Water Day, click here.













Here are the people of the team and their role:

Manuela Antonelli, principal investigator, expert in water and wastewater treatment. 

Silvia Ardizzone,  researcher in charge of the development of materials or coverages for the protection of the sensors. 

Arianna Azzellino, expert consultant in statistical treatment of experimental data.   

Giuseppe Cappelletti,  researcher in charge of the development of materials or coverages for the protection of the sensors.

Marco Carminati, young researcher also in charge for dissemination. 

Luigi Falciola, researcher for the development of the innovatve THM sensors.  

Giorgo Ferrari, leader of the research unit, in charge for the realization of the sensors and of the electronic system integrated into the smart-pipe.

Stefano Malavasi, expert of fluid dynamic activities, experimental tests and CFD analysis. 

Gianandrea Messa, expert of CFD calculations.

Valentina Pifferi, young researcher also in charge for dissemination. 

Laura Romele, responsible scientist for the on analytical and chemical characterization of environmental matrices. She will also give her support for chemical data interpretation. 

Marco Rossi, fellow researcher also in charge for dissemination.

Marco Sampietro, expert consultant for electrical and functional tests on the fabricated sensors. 

Andrea Turolla, fellow researcher, coordinator of the dissemination activities.