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Carrie W. Capuco
Director of Communications

Research to Clarify the Benefits of Big Data Analytics to Water Utilities
June 8, 2017 (Alexandria, VA) The Water Environment & Reuse Foundation recently awarded a contract to CH2M for research on Designing Sensor Networks and Locations on an Urban Sewershed Scale. The Internet of Things (IoT) is driving a revolution of sensing technologies and communication platforms, spurring the development of advanced sensors that will provide access to new data streams for the wastewater industry. The research will provide a basic roadmap for the application of remote sensor technology to address the challenges facing wastewater utilities.
The overall goal of the research is to determine the current capabilities and state of designing and implementing sensor networks in urban sewersheds. The research will define the most pressing issues wastewater utilities face including underground storage to minimize wet weather overflows, flow to pump optimization, overflow and infiltration/inflow issues, water quality monitoring, and installation of early warning systems. The research team, which includes Clean Water Services, will design an online survey and conduct interviews to yield quantifiable indicators of the current and future state from organizations focused on smart water systems.
Ultimately, this research will provide a clear understanding of big data analytics and its benefits to water and wastewater utilities. The results of the project will provide utilities with new information that will help them make better informed decisions, reduce operating costs, and identify cost-effective, focused capital replacement. The researchers will include a number of case studies that illustrate capital deferment, targeted mediation, requirements management, and frameworks for implementation. Utilizing IoT sensing technology will help operators understand how to use real-time data to efficiently manage assets, proactively flag risk, and avoid failure when possible.
CH2M is a renowned technology and applied research consulting firm spanning all aspects of water resources and smart cities, including urban planning and utilities, with a special interest in the creation and provision of valued information to users. Clean Water Services, a public utility serving urban Washington County, Oregon treats 60 million gallons of wastewater per day.
This project is expected to be completed in 2018.


The Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) is a nonprofit (501c3) organization officially formed in July 2016 as the result of the merger of  the Water Environment Research Foundation and the WateReuse Research Foundation. The merged research foundation, with a combined research portfolio representing over $200 million, conducts research to treat and recover beneficial materials from wastewater, stormwater, and seawater including water, nutrients, energy, and biosolids.