The Digital Age: for Sewers as Well

  • September 24, 2017
  • Scott

Some transformative projects are… messier… than others…  Water & Wastewater International covered this case study:

UK-based Severn Trent Water (STW), which provides sewage services to more than 4.3 million homes and businesses, was spending nearly £10 million annually to clear 55,000 blockages throughout its lines. With 94,000 kilometers of sewers to oversee and maintain, Severn Trent Water’s network could wrap around the globe 2.5 times. To detect a potential blockage, the utility turned to software made by IBM to spot problems in the sewer network with telemetry devices that monitor the sewer.

Severn Trent’s approach to solving the problem was the deployment of over 4000 IoT devices to monitor flow in their pipes, and to combine that incoming data stream with a real-time analytics system from IBM and BP3:

According to Andy Henton, an information systems architect for Severn Trent Water, the utility has had a long-standing relationship with IBM as a technology and systems integration partner. When the utility discussed its challenges with the monitoring sensors, IBM suggested that Henton and his colleagues at Severn Trent Water also work with BP3 Global.

“Between October and December 2015, we made sure we had the right product in-house for data and analysis,” says Henton. “Beginning in January 2016, there was a three-month piece of work with BP3 Global and IBM to look at the form of the data we were getting from these monitors, combine it with rainfall and do something meaningful with the results.”

As a result of the new system in place, Severn Trent is empowered to proactively react to emerging conditions and avoid pollution events.  Of course, you might wonder how BP3 could help a water utility with a problem like this – after all, we didn’t have prior experience with water or sewage systems. Who better to answer that question than our client, Severn Trent:

“This solution makes us more proactive with pollutions,” remarks Henton. “BP3 Global had never worked with a water company before, but they explored how our network operates, engaged us about our concerns and their collaboration was impressive.”

Grateful to have Severn Trent as a client, and for the opportunity to produce something both valuable and novel!

Note: Water & Wastewater International serves the all facets of the water industry around the world, reporting on the latest news, technologies and projects of interest to a global water audience, which includes executives, operations & maintenance managers and directors, and design engineers at utilities and government agencies.

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