The wastewater treatment sector is under the challenge that are caused not only the global drivers (e.g., urbanization, climate change, aging population), but also the rapid development of the water management technology with the increased requisites for the water purification (e.g., micro-plastics, medical residues, etc.). IWAMA-project introduces capacity development activities and -tools for the wastewater treatment sector of the Baltic area to tackle these challenges.
Authors: Katerina Medkova and Sami Luste
The lack of training, awareness and interactive international information share have been identified as one of the major limitations regarding the energy- and resource-efficient management of the wastewater processes in the Baltic Sea Region (E.g., PRESTO project 2011-2014; PURE project 2007-2013).
By increasing knowledge and providing up-to-date technical information, the efficiency of wastewater treatment plants, regarding both the energy savings and nutrient removal, can be noticeably improved. At the same time, continuous learning alongside with the technology development can lead to a better environmental state of the Baltic Sea.
IWAMA – Interactive Water Management project aims at improving wastewater management in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). The triple fields of IWAMA activities include the capacity development of the wastewater treatment operators, improving the energy efficiency and sludge management.
LAMK is responsible for the Capacity Development for wastewater sector experts. Capacity development is also enabled through international onsite workshops and online webinars. During the capacity development workshops and webinars, the most recent knowledge on smart sludge and energy management is presented. An added value is brought by sharing the lessons learned from the pilot investments conducted in IWAMA. In addition, the formation of national knowledge-based communities (NKBC) of the lifelong learning in each partner country is enabled.
What has been done?
All six workshops and four webinars have been organised on different themes (Figure 1). The onsite workshops consisted of topic related presentations, lectures, case studies, and dedicated neighbourhoods’ sessions. Site visits to the local WWTPs were an integral part of the international workshops held in different BSR countries. The content of the workshops have been continuously evaluated and developed and new elements have been added later on: panel discussions and suppliers orienteering sessions. The valuable and up-to-date presentations have been recorded for their later use in capacity development. Carefully selected presentations have been also transcribed with English subtitles and some of them translated into national languages, such as Finnish, German, Estonian, Russian and Lithuanian. At the same time, these events provided an opportunity for networking, gaining new information and continuous knowledge and experience exchange with other water stakeholders in the BSR.
Figure 1. IWAMA Workshops and Webinars Overview
These recorded presentations will be available in a Training Material Package (TMP), an online Moodle-based platform, built by LAMK, providing educational materials for WWT sector, associations, universities, NKBCs, or anyone interested in WWT. The TMP is under the development and the first testing of the elements has been conducted. Besides the presentations and recordings, other lifelong learning tools are being developed during the course of the project, such as the WWTP game (Image 1) and virtual learning tests.
Image 1. Screenshot of the WWTP game being developed by LAMK
The water-, waste and wastewater associations and universities (LAMK, ECAT-Lithuania, LNU, EVEL, DWA) have started to modify and fill the national sections of the online TMP, translate materials for WWTP game and virtual tests.
Insights from the WS6
The theme of the last international Capacity Development workshop was in the name of “Constructional and operational challenges” and it took place in Gdańsk, Poland on 20.-21.9.2018. The first day started with a visit to Kazimierz Water Tower, located on an island (Image 2). Besides the technological purpose of the modern tower, it serves as an educational centre.
Image 2. Kazimierz Water Tower (Photo by Katerina Medkova)
The second day was filled with presentations, discussions, case studies and targeted parallel sessions. Case studies presented solutions to personnel demand and management challenges in Germany, Finland, Estonia and Poland. For instance, Ms Sirpa Sandelin from Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, Finland, emphasized the importance of ageing personnel and diminishing workforce in wastewater treatment plants. Managing knowledge, especially the tacit knowledge and its transfer to new generation employees, is essential for water utilities. Knowledge management supports learning in organisations, as only 20 % is learned at schools. The majority of knowledge and skills (80%) is achieved at work through work experience and on-the-job training. Lifelong learning is seen as an investment for the future and a key in today’s competitive and fast-changing world. (Sandelin 2018) “Lifelong learning of the personnel should be seen as a responsibility of both the employer and the employee”, Ms Sandelin (2018) stated.
The last day took place in the premises of the Gdańsk wastewater treatment plant, where the theoretical presentations followed by a detailed visit of the large plant, including the plant, combined anammox- constructed wetland pilot-plant, and the incineration and CHP plants. A beautiful Hevelius Fountain Show ended the workshop.
Image 3. Gdańsk wastewater treatment plant (Photo by Katerina Medkova)
IWAMA, funded by INTERREG Baltic Sea Region Programme 2014-2020, is a flagship project of the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. More information about IWAMA project is available at https://www.iwama.eu/.
IWAMA. 2017. About IWAMA. [Cited 10 Oct 2018]. Available at: https://www.iwama.eu/about
Sandelin, S. 2018. Knowledge Management and Retention in Finnish WWTPs. IWAMA 6th Capacity Development Workshop. IWAMA. [Cited 10 Oct 2018]. Available at: http://www.iwama.eu/sites/iwama/files/8._knowledge_management_and_retention_in_finnish_wwtps_sandelin.pdf
Katerina Medkova and Sami Luste both work in the IWAMA project in LAMK.
Illustration: Gdańsk wastewater treatment plant. Photo by Katerina Medkova.
Reference to this publication
Medkova, K. & Luste, S. 2018. IWAMA – Capacity Development Activities. LAMK Pro. [Cited and date of citation]. Available at: http://www.lamkpub.fi/2018/10/22/iwama-capacity-development-activities/