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Atlanta's Managers Keep Their Fingers in the Sewer From the Office, From Home or Even On Vacation

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Managers often experience problems with the delay in delivery of flow monitoring data, often delivered in monthly or weekly reports. Staff analysts and consultants are used to sort through the data to find signs of overflow, surcharging blockages or other actionable events. These analyses may allow the manager to direct day-to-day or near term activities yet the analyses may not reach the manager's desk for weeks or months. The City of Atlanta is now employing an innovative technology utilizing a network of 125 flow monitors and 30 rain gauges to monitor the health and performance of the sewer system in real time. Managers with web access can quickly be notified of sewage spills, blockages or even partial blockages. The system is identifying spills as or before they happen.

The web-based IntelliScan®. system from ADS Environmental Services operates by learning both the flow pattern at each monitoring site and the response of each monitor basin to rainfall. During dry days the system functions by comparing the current flow measured at each site to what the flow monitor has learned from several preceding days. Any measured flow that is significantly less than anticipated results in a real-time callout to the IntelliScan system, which then sends alarm to users. Because the system is webbased, a manager can receive warnings of significant events or query the system from any location with web access (a beach hotel for example).

In addition to flow loss alarms, the system provides real-time high-depth alarms that allow an operator to anticipate possible overflows during both dry and wet weather. This level of information provides an early warning of wet weather overflows by seeing which monitors are experiencing high depths.

Operations staff and engineers are able to understand the hydraulic condition of the sewer network on an immediate basis through the use of the scattergraph viewer. This information can help operators understand, for example, that a high depth alarm (and potential overflow) is the result of a down stream blockage. Removing it quickly can prevent the overflow.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2004

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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