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  • by Trevor Loveday

Artificial intelligence goes down the drain

Northumbrian Water has unveiled a £20m project which it claimed was set to “significantly reduce spills from storm overflows” across Tyneside using techniques based on sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) analysis  that are “proven” in the US.

Northumbrian Water claimed that in Indiana, AI analytics and control measures installed in a section of wastewater network supported an 80% reduction in the number of storm spills over ten years.

The “smart sewer” project – a partnership of Northumbrian with HydroDigital – will, according to Northumbrian Water, enable the water company to change the flow and direction of wastewater to move it around the sewer network, and thereby reduce the likelihood of spills. AI technology will analyse data from sensors placed along sewer pipes to “predict when and where rain is about to hit in the region and when and where the sewer networks are more likely to reach capacity and spill.”

It will then, according to Northumbrian, “automatically balance the flows of the network, diverting this wastewater to the emptier parts of the network, managing capacity and reducing the likelihood of spills taking place.”

Information services director at Northumbrian Water, Nigel Watson, said: “This project is set to completely revolutionise the way that our network operates, and maybe even how our industry works as a whole.”


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