Integrating Multiple Data Sources

Integrating Multiple Data Sources

Integrating Multiple Data Sources for Comprehensive “Vital Signs” Analysis to Predict and Manage Inflow and Infiltration (I&I)

Collection systems effected by Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) typically suffer from the cost of processing  non-wastewater flows sent to the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Additionally, I&I can challenge collection system capacity and under the right condition cause a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO).

To eliminate I&I the source and the quantity must be found. Even more the casual nature of I&I must be understood. Is there a relationship to tidal influence, river or stream levels or rain events?   System operators need better tools to identify I&I.

The ability to integrate rain, tides, rivers/streams data, all potentially causal, with remote level or flow monitoring data is now enabling operators to gain a revealing cause and effect picture: the “vital signs” of the collections system.

Think about when you go in for a doctor appointment.  What is the first thing that the medical staff do?

They collect a broad range of vital signs data, such as blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate, weight, respiratory functions, etc.

Why? Because it gives them a more complete and comprehensive data-based context to help with diagnosis and treatment planning.

System operators need access to a similarly broad range of data sources along with integration and analysis tools to provide a comprehensive picture of factors related to potential I&I problems.

SmartCover® Systems™ have new tools that seamlessly give operators the collection system’s vital signs. Multiple source data stream, rain, tides and rivers/stream are captured and displayed with level or flow data in in real-time.

Three new innovations from SmartCover are providing this comprehensive view and building an enlightening picture of the collection system behavior.


SmartRain imports Doppler radar rain data along local rain gauge data to output rain volume and rate information. When integrated with level and flow data graphically, immediate or longer-term patterns of association become apparent. Latitude and longitude selects the rain monitor location with best practice to associate it in the same basin as level monitors. With data being acquired continuously, the analysis is done by selecting the time range and sites to be viewed. The graph below illustrates one rain monitoring location (blue) and three sites with level monitoring in green.

Upon examination the amber level monitoring site has a high correlation to rain whereas the green and amber sites have a more delayed response. This could be indicative of inflow (amber) versus infiltration.

Virtual real time rainfall rates at the multiple rain monitoring sites in each sewer-shed can create even more revealing “cause and effect” relationships in the basin. Multiple rain monitoring points, a “rain field”, creates a grid of sites and can show local variability of rain amounts and rates. When associated with leveling monitoring sites I&I patterns will emerge. Vulnerable sites are identified for further investigation and, where capacity is challenged, operations can be alerted to potential overflows. These vital signs can be used to both head off emergencies before they happen and for prioritizing capital improvement projects (CIP) to reduce I&I over the longer term.


Figure 1- SmartRain Integration with Flow Data


For areas where there is potential for tidal influence, SmartTide imports tidal data. Like SmartRain, it is designed to integrate with level or flow data.

Using NOAA tide gauges installed along the US coastal areas, data is updated every four hours. The location, designed on a map is slected along with level monitoring sites and displayed concurrently as shown below.

No hardware or maintenance is necessary to gain and integrate  SmartTide™ data with existing SmartCover® monitoring data. Like SmartRain, by leveraging SmartTide data sources in conjunction with SmartCover monitoring of system flows, utility operators can make better and informed decisions for both short-term emergent conditions and long-term capital planning purposes.


Figure 2 – SmartTide Data Integration


StreamWatch is the newest innovation from SmartCover. Like SmartTide and SmartRain, it adds yet another causal data source to view establish potential correlations with level or flow changes in the collection system. Dry weather increases in collection system flows may be explained when river or stream data is integrated and presented graphically together. Using more than 10,000 monitoring locations across the US provided by the US Geological Survey, in seconds users can select and view this integrated data.

Putting I&I Vital Signs Together for Comprehensive Analysis

All utilities recognize the high impact of I&I in terms of cost. Whether form inflow sources such as leaky manholes or illegal hookups or from infiltration due to cracked pipes, it must be found. Yet, the task can and is much easier if the know the true cause of the problem. A utility that could not explain dry substantial weather flows installed level monitors and utilized SmartTide. They quickly learned that spikes in dry weather flows were the direct result of tidal influences. There CIP dollars were immediately directed to remediate the issue and their dry weather flows were reduced by 80%.

Using rain, tide and stream/river flow data along SmartCover’s real-time remote level monitoring, system can have an immediate payback. It starts with a simple question, “where and why do I have I&I?” With the new, unique approach to monitoring for both cause & effect, the vitals signs of the collecting system are revealed and precious capital resources can be applied to maximum effect.