Technologies to treat wastewater in decentralized systems are critical for sustainable development. Bioreactors are suitable for low-energy removal of inorganic and organic compounds, particularly for non-potable applications where a small footprint is required. One of the main problems associated with bioreactor use is sporadic spikes of chemical toxins, including nanoparticles. Here, we describe the development of DIYBOT (Digital Proxy of a Bio-Reactor), which enables remote monitoring of bioreactors and uses the data to inform decisions related to systems management. To test DIYBOT, a household-scale membrane aerated bioreactor with real-time water quality sensors was used to treat household greywater simulant. After reaching steady-state, silver nanoparticles (AgNP) representative of the mixture found in laundry wastewater were injected into the system to represent a chemical contamination. Measurements of carbon metabolism, effluent water quality, biofilm sloughing rate, and microbial diversity were characterized after nanoparticle exposure. Real-time sensor data were analyzed to reconstruct phase-space dynamics and extrapolate a phenomenological digital proxy to evaluate system performance. The management implication of the stable-focus dynamics, reconstructed from observed data, is that the bioreactor self-corrects in response to contamination spikes at AgNP levels below 2.0 mg/L. DIYBOT may help reduce the frequency of human-in-the-loop corrective management actions for wastewater processing.
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