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NI Water Taps into Local Companies for Innovation in Water and Wastewater Treatment

07 June 2021 15:11

 | NI Water News

Four Belfast-based local companies are leading the way in developing innovative technologies for NI Water’s Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants and other assets in the water and sewerage network.

Analytics Engines, RPS, Lagan Meica and Advanced Analytics Labs are leading the way in helping NI Water to identify ground-breaking processes and data intelligence techniques to achieve efficiencies in the area of water and wastewater treatment.

These projects are all supported by the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), which is a pre-commercial procurement model promoted by Innovate UK, which enables public sector bodies to connect with technology organisations in order to stimulate the development of innovative solutions to specific public sector challenges and needs.

NI Water Project Manager Sean McAuley said:

“NI Water is delighted to harness the expertise of 4 locally based companies to assist us in making efficiencies in the area of water and wastewater treatment.

“For example, analysing data has highlighted trends in a few key areas, including two Wastewater plants - Carrickfergus Wastewater Treatment Works and the Kinnegar Wastewater plant in County Down. The NI Water teams involved are now changing their treatment strategy to help reduce costs at the plants, which is bringing great benefits to our business. Data analysis techniques are also currently employed to gain valuable insights into the water treatment process at Drumaroad Water Treatment Works.

 “I would like to thank SBRI and the Strategic Investment Board for their invaluable support and the 4 local companies for their enthusiasm in this exciting new venture. I look forward to seeing further efficiencies unfold as the project progresses.”

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said: “I congratulate NI Water in their ongoing commitment to developing original and innovative technologies to make efficiencies in the area of water and wastewater treatment.

“This not only makes much needed financial savings but improving operational efficiency will make for a cleaner, greener environment. This will assist NI Water in their ambitious strategy to become carbon neutral by 2050 and help tackle the climate emergency.”

SBRI aims to use the power of government procurement to accelerate technology development, thereby supporting projects through the stages of feasibility and prototyping, which are typically hard to fund commercially in the open market.  SBRI offers an excellent opportunity for businesses, especially early stage companies, to develop and demonstrate technology, supported by an intelligent lead customer.

Analytics Engines have provided NI Water with a global overview of the wastewater treatment process across various NI Water Wastewater Treatment Plants. A dashboard was then presented that visualises this data, allowing the company to avail of advanced analytics capabilities in the wastewater treatment process.

This expertise delivers significant value to NI Water via data intelligence techniques and uses Analytics Engines’ technology to create a tailored augmented intelligence solution designed to address the organisation’s requirements. This will undoubtedly lead to cost savings and process efficiencies across the business.

In partnership with NI Water data analytics and assets performance teams, RPS has taken asset lifecycle data to derive timely and actionable insights which will support future operational decisions such as targeting capital investment and improving current asset performance and efficiency. The company also reviewed chemical usage at the final stage of the wastewater treatment process.

Lagan Meica is also involved in this initiative, employing advanced machine learning for Wastewater Treatment processes to enhance Process Robustness, reduce Carbon Footprint and provide an easy operator interface with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence.

The company is currently maintaining Kinnegar WwTW, one of NI Water’s largest plants with a Population Equivalent of 110,000. They are assisting with plant optimisation, through better monitoring & process improvements, which have made Kinnegar WwTW one of the most efficient plants in Northern Ireland.

Monthly electricity costs have reduced from £43,000 to £18,000 whilst maintaining 100% compliance.

Last but not least, Advanced Analytics Labs (AAL) has been working with NI Water to develop a data driven software solution, which can reveal real-time insights for plant managers, through the creation and prediction of a novel ‘Water Quality’ score derived from routinely collected data. The software overcomes the challenges commonly faced with using multiple data sets from a variety of sources and native formats without the need for manual processing and manipulation by humans.

The analytics framework underpinning the software contains a number of Artificial Intelligence models, which can predict the values of influential features at a time in the future, enabling the water quality score to be predicted in advance. This will allow process anomalies to be detected, and process optimality to be identified in the most efficient, accurate and robust manner possible, in order to ensure that water quality is at an optimum level.

The SBRI initiative aims to improve and control the status and quality of asset operations throughout the water and wastewater infrastructure networks and will support current business processes, bringing many efficiencies to NI Water’s business well into the future.  


Media enquiries to:

Photo Caption:

(L-R) Stephen Flynn RPS, Sean McAuley, Ciaran Nicell (both NI Water), Professor Adele Marshall Advanced Analytics Labs, Neil McKenzie Lagan MEICA, and Martin McCartan from Analytics Engines get to work on innovation and efficiencies in the water and wastewater treatment process.

Notes to editors:

Company profiles:

Analytics Engines

Specialists in data integration, machine learning, AI, in-depth analytics and visualisations, Analytics Engines leverages connected technology and data analysis to deliver better insights and outcomes for customers. We create innovative software solutions that help businesses drive value from data. In 2020, Tech Nation named Analytics Engines as one of the UK’s “AI Companies to watch in 2020”. This year, we were proud to be featured as an R&D case study in the Tech Nation Report 2021. To learn more about Analytics Engines and our work with Artificial Intelligence, contact us via

RPS is a leading global professional services firm. We define, design, and manage projects that create shared value by solving problems that matter to a complex, urbanising and resource-scarce world. This is our purpose. 

With a shared a dream dedicated to making the world a better place. RPS plays a leading role in raising awareness on the importance of balance to protect the environment itself and the welfare of the people living in it. Our behaviours define who we are. Developed by our people, they underpin everything that we do. They create the memorable experiences we are known for and make RPS a great place to do great work.

Working alongside Northern Ireland Water, we provide the technical and commercial expertise required to sustainably utilise, manage, and conserve water resources. Building on this existing relationship and looking to the future. RPS have developed a dedicated Water Infrastructure Digital Delivery team, with the goal of revealing insights, providing expertise to project delivery, and ultimately water and wastewater infrastructure efficiency. This builds upon an existing experienced multi-discipline engineering team and ties into existing RPS AI and Global Technology teams. 

Lagan MEICA Limited.

Lagan MEICA Ltd is part of the Lagan Operations & Maintenance Holdings Limited business.

Lagan Meica operate in the Water and Wastewater business sector. The direction of the business in recent years has seen the company focus on key skills in the operation and maintenance of Wastewater and Water Treatment works, design and construction of these works and more recently innovation around the operations such as real time control, power savings, process efficiency, instrumentation, remote access, hydrogen and oxygen production on wastewater treatment works.

Advanced Analytics Labs

Advanced Analytics Labs (AAL) is a Northern Ireland based innovation-driven enterprise who are experts in Advanced Analytics.  Their mission is to empower their customers by helping them to use the data they collect as a valuable asset and a basis from which to make effective business decisions. This is achieved through direct customer engagement and the development of bespoke data-driven prognostics. Recently, AAL have completed a number of successful projects across a range of different industries, notably providing analytics to enhance areas of water treatment, financial audit, legal dispute resolution and also high-value manufacturing, they have developed a state-of-the-art AI process control software product – FourPointZero.

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