Community complaints and unpredictable weather events aren’t conducive to an efficient waste management operation or happy neighbours. In reality, these are ‘lose-lose’ situations for all stakeholders.
Furthermore, data from a recent Frost & Sullivan report shows that over 50 per cent of managers at industrial operations around the world said they have experienced dramatic impacts on their organisation on account of environmental factors over the last 3 years.
Considering the data being collected from environmental monitoring systems at waste management sites, why is this still the case?
The answer likely lies in why most environmental monitoring is conducted in the first place.
Environmental data is too complex for non-specialists to extract value from
Environmental performance monitoring data has been aimed historically at managing environmental compliance obligations – a necessary objective. Reporting is focused on what happened in the past: historical statistics and trends.
Manual processing is required by on-site staff and subject matter specialists to understand and communicate the significance of impacts. By the time an interpretation of the data has been received the opportunity to take action to avoid incidents, or reduce those impacts, is lost.
To make matters more difficult, today’s growing populations mean that communities are no longer located miles away from waste treatment facilities. It’s becoming more and more complicated for plant operators to minimise community impact without taking a toll on operational activities.
There is also a general assumption that automating data acquisition and displaying data will simply lead to value; however, there is little guidance on how environmental data can help drive improvements in operational performance while combating rapid weather changes or deliver least-cost improvements in environmental performance.
Yielding value from the connection of devices that generate data, is not a natural progression.
Unlocking value beyond compliance data with Environmental Intelligence
Unfortunately, most systems available for environmental management focus on the collection, storage and only sometimes, the display of information.
In response to challenges impacting growth outcomes for organisations across the globe, an emerging transformative concept is that of ‘Environmental Intelligence’ – going beyond the mere data collection focus of conventional environmental monitoring, to the intelligent acquisition and application of environmental knowledge enabled by digital solutions.
Environmental Intelligence systems can help operators at waste management sites to cut through complex data and lower investigation times of odour issues.
A technology-driven process, environmental intelligence harnesses the power of big data, artificial intelligence and analytics tools to produce real-time odour monitoring network visualisations, predictive modelling and actionable insights. Industries and governments are using environmental intelligence to make fast, confident decisions that optimise operational outcomes and improve the liveability of communities.
Integrating data from various environmental parameters through Environmental Intelligence solutions
Although industrial operations and municipal authorities have been employing digital solutions for environmental management over the past decade, the challenge with increasing volumes of data collected is in being able to analyse and produce actionable insights. Without a real-time, automated, end-to-end system, this becomes extremely difficult.
Environmental Intelligence is made possible today through advancements in data analytics. Particularly the integration of data from various environmental parameters such as air, water, weather, noise and vibration, the layering of multiple datasets to ascertain potential risks, enhanced sensor technologies, predictive modelling, improved connectivity and the use of advanced cloud technology.
EI solutions help in mitigating the risks from multiple parameters in real-time (air quality, noise, odour, water), run simulations of environmental conditions and detect potential issues before they occur or impact surrounding communities.
Predictive odour risk reports can provide a 72-hour window into the future so operators can plan ahead for high-risk shifts.
Accurate foresight of weather events allows operators to minimise odour impact on community
Weather related conditions can have a significant impact on operations, causing delays, unplanned stoppage and even significant damage to assets.
Environmental Intelligence solutions are integrated with a flexible alerting and reporting system to deliver early warnings when incidents are imminent. These solutions create a proactive system that can help in acting on insights from the data being collected through the devices. The use of insights from Environmental Intelligence systems, to avoid incidents, improve performance and reduce the number of community complaints, can ensure that the impact of activity on local communities is minimised while productivity of the operation is maximised while also delivering the genuine financial benefits that the business needs.
Waste management sites are using Environmental Intelligence systems to reduce the number of compliance breaches or events that may result in odour complaints from nearby communities. Operators have also reported that the accurate foresight of weather events allows them to optimise and increase production levels by scheduling activities at the right time due to weather, while also improving environmental performance.
Waste management sites can use meteorological modelling to pinpoint likely sources of odour complaints in the community.
Are you looking to adopt EI solutions for your business?
At Envirosuite, we believe that regularly assessing high quality and predictive information can help organisations in making confident decisions that optimise operational outcomes.
Find out more at https://envirosuite.com/solutions/monitor-and-report