As flooding and heavy rain events increase, efficient solutions are needed to protect citizens and infrastructure. In a combined sewer system, rainwater and wastewater are collected the same channel and treated in the wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Here it is a common problem in the wet (rainy) season that the incoming rain- and wastewater exceeds the loading capability of the channels and the treatment capacity of the WWTPs, leading to overflows in some areas, called combined sewer overflow events (CSO events).
A German company that has 40 years of experience in the water industry and is an industry 4.0 technology leader developed a technology that can help.
The solution is a smart machine and primarily serves as cascade dam, flushing weirs, and relief weirs, which can be controlled by IT and automation software. A core plate moves up and down vertically, controlled through sensors and / or Internet of Things (IoT) data of e.g. water level, flow rate, etc.
The process is monitored with the support of a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, possibly in conjunction with cameras. It is controlled depending on filling level and precipitation and takes into account surrounding interconnected systems and discharges. All performance and operational data are recorded for analysis and documentation purposes and are continuously available on the SCADA’s cloud. The focus is on making full use of the retention basins and collector channels’ storage capacity and thereby reducing water contamination to a minimum. Furthermore, the integration of IT solutions enables the prevention of sedimentation in the network (preventive flushing waves) as well as backwater from the natural water bodies into the sewer network in case of heavy rain.
The installation of the German company's solution can retain the water inside the network temporarily, contributing to the prevention or delay of CSO events. The product is designed not to obstruct the water flow when the power outage happens, ensuring the operational security of the sewer network.
The solution is a combination between mechanical products and IT software:
1. Cascade, surge, and relief technology (Intelligent software)
2. SCADA system for the complete monitoring, documentation, and data logging
3. IT software for central data logging, processing, and archiving and remote data retrieval
4. Precipitation portal for precise local precipitation results
5. Cameras for monitoring
Conventional solutions like penstocks, valves, or sluices usually have a lower efficiency because they lack the support of IT solutions. As a result, the operations are not secured (i.e. in case of power failure, backwater from rivers to the channel), and the operational and maintenance costs are significantly high (i.e. due to the cleaning of sedimentation, the involvement of manual work). More importantly, the product can be networked with other smart machines to optimize the operations of the whole sewer system.
Partners from civil works or with water or construction activities are sought to implement the technology within their solutions. The German company would contribute advice and technical support regarding installation and operation in the framework of commercial agreements with technical assistance.