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News | 2023-12-11
A sensor is mounted across an open storm drain; a hand, knee and foot are visible against the surrounding greenery.

The Turbinator combines a camera, laser beam and image analysis based on AI algorithm to measure water level and turbidity. Photo: Olof Folkelind/IVL

Digital monitoring future-proofs cities' wastewater networks

Climate change and urbanization are increasing the pressure on urban water and wastewater systems. In Stockholm and Gothenburg, a new digital technology has been tested that can help municipalities better monitor their networks and improve their ability to plan maintenance.

"Digital monitoring facilitates the operation of urban wastewater networks. Constant access to updated information is beneficial both environmentally and socio-economically, as it provides opportunities to act proactively and identify problem areas, and facilitates the planning of maintenance”, says Joel Wanemark, project manager at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.

With the Internet of Things (IoT), objects with built-in electronics can be controlled or exchange data over the internet. In the project IoT for Sustainable Water Management, IVL, in collaboration with Stockholm Vatten och Avfall and Kretslopp och vatten in Gothenburg, has designed a platform for digital management of urban wastewater networks.

Using the platform, data from IoT sensors will be collected, analysed and integrated with other data. This will help urban wastewater managers to make data-driven decisions on planned maintenance or to identify sources of pollution or other issues that require rapid action.

"Cities often use multiple measurement methods and data storage systems. This makes it difficult to reuse results and develop operations based on data-driven findings. With this project, we wanted to improve the ability of water and wastewater organizations to use new technology to collect data, but also to improve the interaction between different systems”, says Joel Wanemark.

AI in difficult locations

One measurement tool that can be used in an IoT platform is the patented Turbinator, developed by IVL. It is mounted at the top of a storm drain and combines a camera, a laser beam and image analysis based on an AI algorithm to measure the level and turbidity of the water. Many municipalities are installing blue-green infrastructure such as stormwater ponds or ditches, to manage the heavy rainfall that is increasing with climate change, for example. This is where the Turbinator can deliver benefits.

"We have tested the Turbinator in both Stockholm and Gothenburg in various applications, and found that it works well. It can be used in hard-to-monitor places in the network, such as heavily trafficked streets or in tricky drain situations, and at stormwater ponds. The Turbinator provides better data at shorter intervals, and provides the operating staff with a safer working environment", says Joel Wanemark.

Read more about the conclusions of the project (in Swedish):
Datadrivna beslut underlättar driften av avloppsledningsnät External link, opens in new window.

Read more about The Turbinator External link, opens in new window.

For more information, contact:
Joel Wanemark, joel.wanemark@ivl.se, tel. +46 (0)73-092 56 10

The project IoT for Sustainable Water Management has been funded by Internet of Things Sweden, with support from Vinnova, the Swedish Energy Agency and Formas.

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