During heavy rain floods hotspots frequently emerge in sewage networks that can overflow into properties and watercourses, spreading disease, raw sewage, microplastics, etc. which can ultimately end up into the oceans and the food chain.
Traditionally sewer networks are open loop, not controlled by anything other than rainfall and flows from customer’s properties. Increasing the capacity of a sewage network to cope with additional loading or to deal with existing overloads can be expensive, highly disruptive and carbon intensive. Further, if the cost is passed back to a property developer can significantly impact on the commercial viability of both industrial and commercial developments. However, increase the capacity of a sewer network alone is not necessarily the answer too as simply it moves the problem further downstream to the Sewage Treatment Works which too must be expanded.
The stopgap solution to date has been the construction of large underground chambers into which penstock valve and controls have been inserted. These are costly, disruptive to install, difficult to maintain and can only be installed at locations served with mains power.
A small UK company has successfully launched to the market an award-winning alternative, which can be retrofitted in most cases without the need, cost, and disruption of constructing new chambers or providing mains power. The Sewer Flow Regulator as depicted in [ Picture 2 ] illustrates how flow can be regulated in one or several spots to reduce the peak load at the downstream hotspot.
The systems design is such that it retrofits into an existing sewer invert, further it is dimensioned such that it fits through an existing 55cm access cover. Picture 1 shows the compact design of the Sewer Flow Regulator [SFR], which includes an emergency bypass, a fixed body and surface removable regulator blade.
To date SFRs have been constructed to fit into sewers of between 10…30 cm and the design complies with the ATEX Directive thanks to the use of pneumatics rather than electric motive power.
Sensors and data links allow for SFRs to be fully automated and to operate autonomously, as part of a local Smart Network, which can also be IoT enabled.
The company is looking for water and sewage companies, tier 1 contractors tasked with reducing sewer flooding and property companies alike for commercial partnerships to exploit this technological advancement in sewer management.
In addition, the company also has related technolgy for the management and reduction of spills from combined sewer overflows, which are a major source of pollution and plastics in the oceans.