Predictive maintenance for universal to basic sanitation

September 21, 2021

Basic Sanitation is a problem? Brazil is a country that historically has a basic sanitation network (distribution, collection and treatment of wastewater) that is insufficient for the size of its territory and population.

Approximately, little more than half of Brazilians have access to sewage systems in their homes.

With the idea of expanding the distribution network, improving the population’s quality of life and protecting the environment, the Brazilian federal government approved a new legal framework for sanitation as a way of encouraging the entry of new agents and private initiative into the sector.  

Thanks to this important step, the industry is turning more and more competitive, and companies with more reliability and product quality will stand out.

This puts technology at front and center stage. 

In this short article, we will show the main aspects of the new regulatory framework and how technologies such as those by Dynamox, when applied to predictive maintenance, can bring several benefits to companies that already operate or intend to operate in the sector.  Continue reading!

Brazil’s current sanitation network

Despite being one of the most water-abundant countries in the world, there are still almost 35 million people who do not have access to treated water in Brazil.

According to the Trata Brasil Institute, 100 million Brazilians do not have sewage collection in their homes. 

In addition to the social and sanitary impact of the insufficient sanitation network, there is clearly a considerable impact on the environment.

Forty-nine percent of Brazilian sewage is not treated. That represents a volume of 5.3 thousand Olympic swimming pools of waste dumped every day in nature.

From a recent historical perspective, the scenario is even more worrisome.

According to data published by the Brazilian Association of Private Concessionaires of Public Water and Sewage Services (Abco) and the National Union of Private Concessionaires of Public Water and Sewage Services (Sindicom), there was a regression in the rate of treated water supply in urban areas, while the collection of sewage in relation to the water consumed had a slight growth.

According to the Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Alburquerque, Brazil is facing “the worst water crisis in its history”.

In 91 years of monitoring of river basins, the rainfall level is well below the historical average, and the reservoirs that supply water and energy to the most populated regions of the country operate at 20% of their capacity.

With the prospect of uncertainty, rising tariffs, and possible power rationing, system reliability as essential as these becomes all the more important.

Planning for the future

Aiming to improve this worrisome scenario, the federal government launched in 2013 the National Basic Sanitation Plan (PLANSAB).

The main objective of the measure is to achieve, by 2033, the universalization of sanitation services, i.e. 99% of the population with water supply and 90% of wastewater collected and treated. 

In order to achieve universal access to sanitation, it is necessary to invest heavily in the construction of infrastructure, expansion of the current collection and distribution network, and maintenance of the assets already installed.

It is estimated that R$ 753 billion in investments will be required for the country to achieve universal access to sanitation, of which R$ 255 billion will be destined for the recovery of the depreciation of existing networks and assets

Stimulus to private initiative

To support the path towards the goal of universal sanitation, the new Legal Framework for Basic Sanitation (Law 14.026) was sanctioned on July 15, 2020.

The purpose of the new framework is to update the legislation to encourage the entry of new players in the sector, increase competitiveness and stimulate gains in scale.

The main rule is the mandatory opening of bids for the transfer of state-owned companies to the private sector. In addition, there are other important new regulations:

  • No service interruptions;
  • An average contract term of 30 years
  • The regulation of companies by the National Water Agency (ANA).

The approval of these two pieces of new legislation sets Brazil up nicely for improvement in both the economy and sanitation.

It is expected that from this new legal framework, private initiative will increase its participation in both wastewater collection and distribution of treated water.

According to a study by Panorama 2021, privatization accounts for 33% of investments in the sector, corresponding to R$ 4.8 billion, out of a total of R$ 14.8 billion.

There are currently 191 contracts signed with private initiative with different types of both total or partial transfers from public to private ownership.

For example: Specific Purpose Partnership (SPE), Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and sub-delegations.

Of these, 42% are in small municipalities – up to 20 thousand inhabitants – and 22% in municipalities with 20 thousand to 50 thousand inhabitants, totaling 7% of Brazilian municipalities. 

With the updating of legislation and incentives for the concession model, according to the same study, it is estimated that the private initiative will serve 40% of the population by 2030. 

How can preventive and predictive maintenance help provide universal access to sanitation?

With the growing incentive for the private sector to invest in the sector, it is natural that competition for concession contracts will also increase.

In a scenario of high competition, companies will stand out that use state-of-the-art technology in their operation and are able to guarantee higher quality of service, more reliability, and cost reduction.

In general, companies that take over public sanitation networks must present a Maintenance Plan, which must be approved by a public regulatory body corresponding to the region.

The maintenance policy is commonly divided into 3 levels: corrective, preventive and predictive.

Companies that have a well-defined maintenance plan and use Industry 4.0 technology services (as is the case with Dynamox’s wireless triaxial vibration and temperature sensors) have a competitive advantage.

The sensors can be used to monitor bearings in various types of motor pumps and gearboxes, essential equipment for the operation of a sanitation network.

With these sensors it is possible to monitor and forecast machine conditions and intervene with maintenance before a breakdown or service interruption occurs.

In addition, among the main benefits of the use of technology are the reliability and availability of operational assets, higher quality of the final product/service, maximization of the useful life of components and the ability to identify failures in advance that can waste resources and cause work accidents. 

The application of a technological solution for vibration and temperature monitoring, such as those offered by Dynamox, can be combined with remote analysis of monitored points and recommendations for maintenance actions.

This, it is not necessary to hire a specialist for this type of analysis as Dynamox is able to offer it as a service. 

Outsourcing is a common practice for this type of service, and there is no need for the analyst to be on site, since the data collection is collected in an automated way. 

If there is already a team available to handle vibration data analysis at the site, Dynamox can assist and train this team to take advantage of and extract the best that technology has to offer.

At a more advanced stage of asset management, there is the possibility of creating an Asset Monitoring Center, with access to customized dashboards for asset visibility of different units of the same concession contract.

Among the advantages of this model are: being able to count on a highly specialized vibration analysis team as well as structuring field inspections through a specific application.

This avoids duplication of tasks and generates more control over maintenance routes, in addition to allowing the division of monitoring costs among all participating units.

Remote monitoring technology for maintenance is applicable in sanitation and industrial systems, and can help the country move in the direction of universal sanitation.

See below some of the applications for the sector:

Predictive Maintenance and Basic Sanitation

The new Legal Framework for Basic Sanitation emerged as an alternative, with the inclusion of the private sector in the provision of sanitation, in order to meet the objective of the National Basic Sanitation Plan.

The trend is of high competition for a concession contract among the companies operating in the sector, and in order to stand out from the other companies, it is necessary to use state-of-the-art technology.

The continuous wireless monitoring of predictive maintenance has the potential to make the collection and distribution of sanitation better monitored and avoid waste, collaborating for the environment, society and human dignity.

Want to learn more about preventive and predictive maintenance applications for basic sanitation services? Contact us.

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