By Ifeoluwa Oluwaleke
The use of applications today in various technical activities is indeed of great help in carrying out various tasks. Today, such tasks, some life defining, are carried out faster, more cheaply and more accurately. Thus, what should have taken a longer time now require a fraction of time and resources. We can even do more in shorter time and with fewer resources at our disposal. All thanks to software applications, including in environmental management.
In the same vein, software applications impacts a level of accuracy on the quality of output compared to tasks void of software application inputs. Unsurprisingly, in environmental management and the drive towards sustainability, software applications come handy
For the record, there are numerous software applications available for deployment in various aspects of environmental management but few will be discussed here. While this article in itself may not be exhaustive or sufficient for absolute individual use, we hope it will be just enough to wet readers’ appetite and ignite interests, especially amongst young Africans, to better harness and deploy unique software apps and tech solutions, and develop new ones that solve major environmental problems across the country. This piece gives readers a level of familiarization of such softwares, stir up inquisitiveness, and increase interest and usage in environmental applications.
There is an ocean of softwares in environmental management but below are some exciting examples:
“SewerGEMS is the first and only fully-dynamic, multi-platform (GIS, CAD, and Stand-Alone) sanitary and combined sewer modeling solution. With SewerGEMS, analysis of all sanitary and combined sewer system elements in one package is possible while retaining the option of performing the analyses with the SWMM algorithm or with your own implicit solution of the full Saint Venant equations”.
In order words, SewerGEMS offers the most comprehensive solution available for optimizing Best Management Practice (BMP) designs and meeting sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) and combined sewer overflow (CSO) regulations.
According to water-stimulation.com, with SewerGEMS, you can:
- Develop system master plans;
- Assess the impact of inflow and infiltration on SSOs (sanitary sewer overflow);
- Develop SSO and CSO (combined sewer system) remediation programs;
- Perform system evaluations associated with USEPA CMOM and NPDES;
- Optimize lift station and system storage capacities;
- Determine developer connection fees;
- Implement real-time control strategies;
- Model relief sewers, overflow diversions, and inverted siphons;
- Accurately simulate operations with variable-speed pumping and logical controls and;
- Simulate out-of-service or proposed sewers within the same model
For more information see, SewerGEMS web page.
LandGEM is a first-order decay model that mimics the actual first-order decay rate of landfill gas production that occurs after its overall production peaks. Reactions whose rate depends only on the concentration of one reactant (known as first-order reactions) consequently follow exponential (i.e., ever-increasing) decay.
LandGEM relies on several model parameters with assumed values to estimate landfill emissions. These parameters include the projected methane generation rate (K), the potential methane generation capacity (L), assumed NMOC (non-methane organic compound) concentrations, and the assumed methane content of the overall LFG emissions.
Generally, LandGEM is flexible enough to allow the user to input either site-specific data (if available) or default parameters provided by the model. Various literature report that LandGEM contains two sets of default parameters. Clean Air Act (CAA) is based on parameters or inventory defaults. The CAA defaults are derived from for MSW (Municipal Solid Waste) landfill emission requirements defined by the Clean Air Act. Appropriately, this default set results in conservative (high) emission projections. Inventory Defaults (except those associated with wet, bioreactor landfills) derive from emission factors utilized by the EPA’s “Compilation of Air Pollutant Emission Factors”� (AP-42). This is a less conservative set of assumptions and can be used to project average emissions rates. Both are useful for estimated emission results when site-specific test data is absent. And this will be the position of most LFG system design engineers and analysts. Even established landfills often lack consistent or complete historical data for LFG system planning and design.
EPANET is a public domain, water distribution system modeling software package developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Supply and Water Resources Division. It performs extended-period simulation of hydraulic and water-quality behavior within pressurized pipe networks and is designed to be “a research tool that improves our understanding of the movement and fate of drinking-water constituents within distribution systems”. EPANET first appeared in 1993.
EPANET provides an integrated environment for editing network input data, running hydraulic and water quality simulations, and viewing the results in a variety of formats. EPANET provides a fully equipped and extended period of hydraulic analysis that can handle systems of any size. The package also supports the simulation of spatially and temporally varying water demand, constant or variable speed pumps, and the minor head losses for bends and fittings. The modeling provides information such as flows in pipes, pressures at junctions, propagation of a contaminant, chlorine concentration, water age, and even alternative scenario analysis. This helps to compute pumping energy and cost and then model various types of valves, including shutoffs, check pressure regulating and flow control.
EPANET’s water quality modeling functionality allows users to analyze the movement of a reactive or non-reactive tracer material which spreads through the network over time. It rates the reactive material as is grows, tracks the percentage of flow from the given nodes. The package employs the global reaction rate coefficient which can be modified on a pipe-by-pipe basis. The storage tanks can be modeled as complete mix, plug flow or two-compartment reactors. The visual network editor of EPANET simplifies the process of building piping network models and editing their properties. These various types of data reporting visualization tools are used to assist to analyze the networks, which include the graphics views, tabular views, and special reports.
Utilities and engineering firms around the world trust WaterCAD as a reliable decision-support tool for their infrastructure. Design new water systems and manage existing water networks effectively to reduce disruption risks and energy use.
WaterCAD’s ease-of-use helps you successfully plan, design, and operate water distribution systems to:
- Increase capacity to adequate service levels;
- Supply clean potable water without interruption and;
- Deliver high quality designs cost effectively.
WEAP (“Water Evaluation and Planning” system) is a user-friendly software tool that takes an integrated approach to water resources planning. Freshwater management challenges are increasingly common. Allocation of limited water resources between agricultural, municipal and environmental uses now requires the full integration of supply, demand, water quality and ecological considerations. The Water Evaluation and Planning system, or WEAP, aims to incorporate these issues into a practical yet robust tool for integrated water resources planning. WEAP was developed by the Stockholm Environment Institute’s U.S. Center.
The above and thousands of other softwares greatly aid efforts to improve environmental management. Young environmental scientists, managers and enthusiasts will do well to acquaint themselves with varieties of software applications to be able to effectively deliver much needed environmental solutions. The good part is that some of these software applications know no national boundaries or barriers.
- Ifeoluwa Oluwaleke volunteers with wastesmart.org. She writes from Lagos, Nigeria.
- Editing by Kunlere Idowu.
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