Water Treatment Facility Strategic Planning Application


An industrial facility was faced with the problem of upgrading their effluent treatment technology in order to stay within regulatory compliance. The process of upgrading the facility was quite complex (a multi-year project), and expensive. There were multiple strategies (consisting of various combinations of technologies) that could potentially provide a solution that would meet the regulatory requirements. A total of nine of these strategies were defined and analyzed using GoldSim in order to select the most appropriate alternative.


In order to evaluate the various strategies, each alternative was simulated. GoldSim was used to simulate the “project” of implementing each strategy. The simulation stepped through time, simulating the success or failure, the duration, and the cost of each task involved in implementing the strategy. The tasks included things such as designing, testing (e.g., via a pilot plant), permitting, and building the solution, and incorporated the complex precedence requirements, uncertainties, and interactions between tasks. The possibility of failure at various stages (and hence the need to implement a different solution, or reengineer the selected solution) was represented for each strategy.

The graphical representation of the GoldSim model for one of the strategies is shown below:

Water Treatment Model


The primary performance measure for the simulation was the cost of implementing and operating the treatment strategy. Because the model was probabilistic, predicted costs (presented as NPVs) were presented as probability distributions. The chart below shows the simulated costs for each of the nine alternatives (presented as cumulative distribution functions):

Cost Comparison of Water Treatment Alternatives

The model was successful in communicating the risks associated with each of the alternatives, and was subsequently used to select and defend a strategy.


Making Better Decisions In An Uncertain World