Finding New Paths to Success

MSW and the Pumper & Cleaner Expo showcase better ways for municipal utilities to move forward.

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The tools, strategies and ingenuity to build stronger utilities will be featured at the 2013 Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo, and they're on display in this issue. In addition to the Expo Product Preview, the feature profiles in this issue demonstrate an enterprising spirit and blueprints for better municipal operations.

The South Bend (Ind.) Public Works Department is a great example. Faced with significant CSO problems, the department turned to the bright minds at Notre Dame and Purdue universities who developed a system employing a series of embedded sensors coupled with battery-powered, credit-card-sized computers to conduct real-time monitoring and control of wastewater and stormwater.

South Bend began installing the system at 110 locations in mid-winter 2008. The city was able to combine the network with its own SCADA system and IBM's Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities to form a comprehensive system capable of crunching all the data, presenting it in a usable form and translating the information into instructions that serve the department's operational goals.

Wet-weather overflows have since been reduced by 23 percent and dry-weather overflows have been reduced from 27 occurrences to one in the system's first full year of operation. By mid-2012, it was estimated that simply using existing infrastructure in a more efficient way has helped the city avoid more than $600,000 in potential government fines while potentially offsetting more than $100 million in capital infrastructure costs.

The willingness of city officials to seek out new solutions and find a better way to manage CSO problems saved money for the community and greatly reduced pollution of the St. Joseph River.

The Jordan Valley Water Conservation District and the Fall River Sewer Commission, also profiled in this issue, show a similar focus on improving operations. Fall River has spent the better part of the past three decades working to eliminate its own significant CSO problem. The city has spent $165 million to address its problems, and the work isn't done. The results, however, are already clear: Overflows are down significantly and local water quality has improved substantially.

Jordan Valley serves a steadily growing population in the Salt Lake City area, part of one of America's driest states. Through comprehensive conservation programs, the district has already reached a 20 percent reduction in water use, and water conservation measures have been instrumental in lowering capital investments. So far, reduced water consumption has saved millions of dollars in postponed water supply projects that would have otherwise been necessary.

All these utilities have found better ways to tackle their problems, and as many of you know, that's really what the Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo is all about, too. It's coming up at the end of this month in Indianapolis and it's a great way to network and gain the insight of peers who are dealing with similar challenges. Education courses, demonstrations and over 550,000 square feet of show space will give you a new perspective on the innovations driving the industry forward and improving communities like yours.

All the information you need to make plans to attend the Expo can be found at www.pumper show.com. If you make it to Indy, be sure to track me down. I'd like to hear your story.

Enjoy this month's issue.



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