Real-time monitoring and control of stormwater – meet the intelligent urban watershed

To successfully manage stormwater, utilities need to know how their stormwater system is performing. Xylem’s monitoring and control solutions help them achieve this by providing real-time critical information on pumps, pump stations and entire networks for cities, like South Bend, Indiana, which saved $500 million in capital expenses.

Monitoring and control (M&C) involves measuring the performance of a pumping system and taking corrective action to ensure that it meets objectives. M&C is crucial because it provides an accurate overview of performance and enables utilities to see what is happening across all aspects of their stormwater system, empowering utilities to prevent incidents and make the right decisions.

The three M&C levels of stormwater management

The role of M&C in urban stormwater management consists of three levels of control: pump level, station level and network level. By implementing decision intelligence at each level, utilities can use M&C to improve the performance and longevity of their pumping system. 

Pump level: M&C at this level involves receiving live updates on the pump’s performance and the ability to control the pump remotely from a centralized location. More advanced features include clog detection, pump cleaning and energy consumption optimization.

Station level: At station and basin level, M&C can provide information and functions for water level, sump cleaning, pipe cleaning, maintenance runs, accumulated overflow volume and statistics, and outflow.

Network level: For a network of connected stations or basins, the information and functions provided by M&C include time to spill, set point profiles, controlled overflow, measuring rainfall and identifying early warning characteristics of high flows.

Learn what M&C functions you should implement before, during and after storms in Xylem’s handbook: The Complete Guide to Stormwater Management. You’ll also see Xylem’s solutions for each M&C level.

Prevent combined sewer overflows through network monitoring

If wastewater and stormwater are combined in one system, the system has to contend with sewage and rainwater inflow fluctuations. The pressure on the system increases during severe storms, when sediments in the system are flushed out and end up in the pump station.

Xylem can help increase the treatment capacity of combined sewage systems by coordinating the M&C between existing pumps, pump stations and treatment plants, providing smoother inflows to the treatment plant.

How South Bend reduced combined sewer overflows by 70%

Due to its aging sewer system, the city of South Bend, Indiana, was discharging 1-2 billion gallons of combined sewer overflows each year into the Saint Joseph River. The city turned to Xylem to help solve this problem. In 2008, the city installed a real-time monitoring system of more than 120 sensors located throughout the city’s urban watershed.

After a thorough data review in 2012, the city installed Xylem’s Intelligent Urban Watershed™ platform, BLU-X, a distributed real-time decision support system. The system consists of smart sensors and actuators that trade available conveyance capacity in real time, like a commodity exchange trading floor, to avoid flooding. BLU-X delivers overflow information through SCADA screens for operators, smartphones and tablets for field staff, and web portals.

Since 2012, the monitoring sites (currently 152) and 13 automated gates and valves have eliminated dry weather overflows in South Bend and reduced combined sewer overflows by more than 70 percent. By optimizing their current system, instead of building new infrastructure, the city saved approximately $500 million in capital expenses.

Learn more about monitoring and control for stormwater

Download the handbook: The Complete Guide to Stormwater Management

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