Smart Sewers Technology Helps Reduce Sewer Overflows for Less Money
CINCINNATI – The City of Cincinnati was awarded the top prize in a national Best Water Projects contest for its “Smart Sewers” operated by the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD).
Co-sponsored by Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) and The Atlas Marketplace, the contest was dubbed #WaterYouWaitingFor and featured cutting-edge public works projects from across the U.S. related to water and wastewater infrastructure.
The City of Cincinnati was selected as one of 18 finalists in April, and then the field was narrowed to four finalists in early May by popular vote. The City was selected as the overall winner on Friday, May 18 during ELGL’s annual conference in Golden, Co.
“I’d like to congratulate MSD staff and leadership on winning this prestigious award,” said Acting City Manager Patrick Duhaney. “This is a great recognition for the City of Cincinnati. Through this project and our other Smart Cincy initiatives, the City is positioning itself to become one of the ‘smartest’ cities in the country.”
MSD’s Smart Sewers technology helps reduce sewer overflows into local rivers and streams at a cost less than any other solution, green or gray. The system is anticipated to save tens of millions of dollars in capital investments needed to meet MSD’s Consent Decree obligations.
“We have hundreds of sensors in the sewers, computerized controls, and operable devices within the sewers such as gates/valves that can redirect excess flows to areas with available capacity, said Melissa Niehaus, Superintendent of MSD’s Watershed Operations division, which manages the program. “This helps keep sewage in the pipes and out of our creeks.”
MSD first deployed its Smart Sewers in 2015 in the Mill Creek basin, which covers the central portion of Hamilton County. Within the first several weeks of operation, the technology was used to store flows at a high-rate treatment facility, avoiding 1.4 million gallons in sewer overflows at a location nearly 11 miles away.
The system has since been expanded to the other basins in MSD’s service area, and MSD continues to upgrade and improve the smart sewer system to control more flows.
Data shows that this technology cost about $0.01/gallon of overflow volume reduced, as compared to about $0.23/gallon for green stormwater controls and about $0.40/gallon for larger pipes and storage tanks.
Since first launched, MSD’s Smart Sewers have reduced sewer overflows by more than 400 million gallons a year.