Flow Monitoring Springboards City to System-wide Sewer Management Solution

April 8, 2003
Products In Action
The forward-looking Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSDGC) saw a dynamic model of most of Cincinnati's collection system as the tool that would support improved sewer system management, including sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) and combined sewer overflow (CSO) control, planning, and operations.

Establishing a dynamic model of most of Cincinnati's collection system was an ambitious project.

Yet the forward-looking Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSDGC) saw this system wide model as the tool that would support improved sewer system management, including sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) and combined sewer overflow (CSO) control, planning, and operations.

After more than two years, a diligent team relying on hundreds of flowmeters is ready to roll out this model, one of the largest of its kind.

Is the Site Right?

The MSDGC teamed with lead consultant CDM, engineering firm R.D. Zande and Associates, and other project partners. With 2,000 miles of MSDGC sewer pipeline to represent and a budget to meet, "our challenge was to select sites that were consistently accessible, economical to monitor, yielded 'high-quality' velocity and level data during both dry and wet weather, and met modeling objectives," explained John Barton, Zande project leader.

For each half of the system, the team identified more than 1,500 representative sites, eliminated nearly half of those as poor monitoring locations, and finally selected 160 manholes for data collection.

System wide, the site-appraisal process took a full one-third of the $9 million data collection and evaluation budget. "Critical site evaluation may not guarantee success, but there's no chance for success without it," cautioned Barton.

Monitoring Data Poured In

With four field crews monitoring those 160 sites, the project team needed to standardize instruments and chose American Sigma flowmeters from Hach Company. These meters utilize submerged depth/velocity sensors but offer the flexibility of ultrasonic level detection in the few situations where levels rise above the limits of the submerged pressure transducer.

Barton further explained that the software inherent in these meters was easy for them to use. "The crews needed little training to download meter data to their laptops. The built-in data handling software actually made it hard to lose data."

The team successfully collected velocity and level measurements every five minutes from nearly all sites, from January through June 2001. The entire study was repeated in a similar manner, the following year, for the second half of the system. MSDGC anticipates finalizing the model in April 2003.

Proactive Management the Goal

MSDGC project leader Steve Donovan reflected, "The data collected not only helped identify constraint areas but also allowed us to calibrate model response to various situations so we can address 'what if' scenarios. This proactive approach will let us meet higher customer service expectations and hit the ground running with Best Management Practices in place when the federal capacity, management, operations, and maintenance (CMOM) guidelines become regulation."

For more on the MSDGC system wide model, visit www.msdgc.org/swm.

For additional information, phone 800-635-4567.

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