When the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) found itself struggling to keep up with the growing demands of cleaning more than 200 sites on a frequent basis to prevent
sanitary sewer overfows (SSOs), they turned to monitoring technology for a solution.
Not only has this resulted in lower cleaning costs
while preventing SSOs, SAWS is also getting longer
life out of its pipeline assets as some are considered
high risk and can be damaged by high frequency
Although HFC has long been considered a best practice in the industry, it could also be described as a last
resort because of the high operating expense and asset
wear. In addition, HFC is essentially a “blind” process
because there is no visibility into pipe conditions between cleanings.
SAWS started its journey to optimized maintenance
with a one-year study to determine the return on investment achievable by using the Internet of Things to automate and determine when to clean instead of cleaning
according to a set schedule.
SAWS selected 10 high-frequency cleanout sites.
SmartLevel™ remote feld units were installed at each
site to monitor levels and watch for pattern changes.
For this demonstration project, SAWS suspended its
HFC cleaning protocols and shifted over to cleaning
only when the SmartLevel system indicated it was
Using SmartTrend®, the analytical and patented
software tool included at no cost with each SmartLevel system, SAWS monitored day-over-day level trend
changes and received automated messages for trend
Analysis of the real-time monitoring data automatically detected small but potentially important changes
in water levels. It showed systematic variances from
“normal” diurnal fuctuations. Daily automated scans
of each site revealed either rising trends, indicating a
potential downstream build-up, or falling trends, signs
of a potential upstream build-up.
The combination of real-time monitoring and trend
analysis provided powerful, predictive insights into
the behavior of the collection system, enabling users
to have visibility into a potential problem days or even
weeks ahead and concurrently providing continuous
During the 12-month test period, SAWS performed
only seven cleanings based upon the monitoring and
trend analysis (fve at a single problematic site). This
compares with the 120 cleanings called for under normal HFC scheduling, representing a 94 percent reduction in scheduled cleanings.
Other than a three-day period in May/June 2016
when nearly 16 inches of rain overwhelmed the SAWS
system, there were no SSOs at the pilot locations during the non-food months of the test period.
As demonstrated by the pilot program, the number
of times maintenance trucks are mobilized to clean
HFC sites dropped by 94 percent.
Based on SAWS estimates of about $500 per cleaning, the payback time for the monitoring equipment
is less than one year, and the net savings is $1,500 to
$4,000 per monitored location per year. Additionally,
high-value human and equipment resources are freed
for more pressing needs, risk to staff is reduced, carbon
footprint is minimized, and the risk of spills at monitored locations is dramatically reduced. WW
To learn more about SmartCover Systems, visit www.smartcoversystems.com.
The Internet of Things and Sewers
Lower Operating Expense
and Extend Asset Life
Presented by SmartCover Systems Advertisement
The San Antonio Water System turned to monitoring
technology to keep up with sewer cleaning demands