Anglian Water has become the first utility to adopt new cloud-based technology to detect rising main sewer bursts.
In a world-first, the UK utility is implementing early-warning system BurstDetect from technology company Ovarro, as part of its drive to eliminate serious pollution events in its region by 2025.
Through a dashboard, BurstDetect provides an overview of system status together with current and historical burst alerts. If data suggests a potential burst, an alert is sent to control rooms for early response.
Such early action can prevent the escape of sewage and resulting environmental damage, ensuring companies fulfil their environmental obligations and avoid fines, regulatory penalties and prosecutions, and long-term reputational damage.
George Heywood, analytics innovation lead for Ovarro said: “We are proud that Anglian Water has become the first utility to implement BurstDetect as part of its pollution prevention strategy.
“The technology was developed in collaboration with UK water companies, in direct response to the sector’s challenge to cut pollutions in a sustainable and cost-effective way.
“Rising main sewers pose a unique challenge to water companies. The pumped wastewater they convey can have a catastrophic ecological impact in the event of a burst, causing major disruption to customers, resulting in expensive tankering and clean-up operations and serious reputational damage – such events are just not acceptable in the eyes of customers and regulators.
“By being the first utility to invest in BurstDetect, Anglian Water is leading the way, proving its commitment to cutting pollutions by embracing innovation.”
Claire Moore, head of water recycling networks at Anglian Water, said: “With ‘zero sewage pollution’ as one of our 12 ambitious business goals, we have committed to eliminating serious pollutions by 2025, and to reducing the number of less significant incidents by at least 45 per cent.
“Working with the supply chain to develop innovation and adopt new solutions will revolutionise our ability to meet these goals. Implementing BurstDetect will enable us to respond rapidly should a rising main burst occur and take proactive action to prevent pollution and protect the environment.”
BurstDetect uses unique algorithms to detect bursts using existing data from wastewater pumping stations. The technology can be applied to nearly all pumping stations – even those with just basic pump status monitoring – and requires no additional hardware, with the aim of achieving 100% coverage in networks being monitored.
The system accepts data at a range of monitoring frequencies with algorithms being applied to understand and characterise ‘normal’ pumping station behaviour. This training and testing approach to machine learning is becoming increasingly important to water companies, giving them more actionable insight than ever before, utilising data that may not have been fully harnessed otherwise.
While this is Anglian Water’s first purchase of a wastewater management solution from Ovarro, the two organisations have worked in partnership to reduce leakage for many years, with the utility installing Ovarro acoustic loggers across its network of water mains.
This collaboration led to the development of game-changing remote leak detection device Enigma3hyQ and cloud-based analytics platform LeakVision, which saw Anglian Water and Ovarro win the award for Alliancing and Partnership Initiative of the Year at the Water Industry Achievement Awards 2021