Last year, the Arlington City Council approved Arlington Water Utilities’ purchase of 50 SmartCover Systems. The SmartCover technology is installed in manholes and features sensors to measure sewer system flow at precise locations. Data is then transmitted wirelessly to a web-based database that alerts City engineers and field operations staff by text or email when levels in the manholes rise quickly. Quickly rising levels could indicate a backup in the sanitary sewer system downstream or excessive inflow of rainwater from a crack in the sanitary sewer main. Sanitary sewer overflows can create property damage, dangerous environmental hazards for residents, and harm wildlife.
The SmartCover program also tracks data over time to help the City spot trends and determine areas where flow may be affected by root intrusions or other damage to the main. Workers do not have to enter manholes to install the SmartCover device, but some manholes throughout the City must be modified to make way for the technology.