News Briefs: AI Technology Helps Mid-Atlantic Utility Predict Pipe Breaks

Also in this week's sewer and water news, a manufacturer of so-called "flushable" wipes has reached a settlement with a South Carolina utility in a landmark case for the wastewater industry

In a recent collaboration for a U.S. water utility, Xylem and Esri announced they were able to reduce costs and pipeline failures for a mid-sized mid-Atlantic water utility by deploying artificial intelligence analysis technology.

The AI-powered model —  one of the first in North America to reliably predict future pipe failures — was able to reduce the utility’s costs by $70 million and brought down pipeline failures by 400% by predicting failures before they happened, according to a Xylem press release.

The breakthrough, according to the companies, came from deploying an AI-based solution from Xylem to analyze data from the utility’s system built on Esri’s ArcGIS Enterprise. Results allow water operators to prioritize and stage pipeline replacement, lowering costs and reducing customer impacts by targeting the most critical and deteriorated pipes.

'Flushable' Wipes Manufacturer Reaches Settlement With South Carolina Utility

In a landmark case for the wastewater industry, Kimberly-Clark Corp. recently reached a settlement with a wastewater utility in Charleston, South Carolina, regarding its so-called “flushable” wipes products.

The company agreed in the settlement that any of its products labeled as "flushable" would meet the wastewater industry’s standards by May 2022. The hope is that the recent settlement will spur others in the industry to follow suit, according to Bloomberg News.

In a statement to the news organization, Kimberly-Clark says it “has committed to even further improving the performance” of its flushable wipes as part of the settlement.

St. Louis Makes Progress on Massive Sewer Tunnel

In other news, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently reported on the ongoing wastewater tunnel project by the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, sharing photos and videos of the tunnel’s progress.

The $150 million Deer Creek Sanitary Tunnel project is 4.3 miles long, 19 feet in diameter and is slated for completion in late 2022. The tunnel will temporarily hold wastewater during heavy rain events until treatment facilities can handle the volume.


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