ND research results in possible CSO fix

October 25th, 2005

I have posted before about the costs associated with fixing Combined Sewer Overflows. Today’s South Bend Tribune has a very interesting story about one approach that could dramatically reduce those costs:

ND researchers could save South Bend millions

Jeffrey Talley, assistant professor of civil engineering and geological sciences at the University of Notre Dame… is leading a research effort, using South Bend’s sewer system as his laboratory, that would use a network of embedded wireless sensors inside sewer pipes to measure water levels during wet weather. If a pipe fills up with rain or melted snow, the sensor would send a radio message alerting a “smart valve” to open and send water into other pipes with more room.

Talley said he has been contacted by cities from around the world, including Paris, New York, Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles. Initially he was inundated with e-mails and was receiving 15 calls a day from people wanting to learn more… One of those inquiries came from Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls Inc., which is negotiating with the University of Notre Dame to license the patent for the process and commercialize it. Brad Van Meter, municipal utilities solutions manager with the company, said he sees a potential $1 trillion world market for the process.

I have followed the progress of this research for a while now, after being briefed on it by the City of South Bend last year.

It is a clear demonstration of the potential benefits of a society strongly invested in research and development. Hopefully, more advanced technologies like this will result from the proposed South Bend technology park that I discussed in a previous post.

Entry Filed under: Environment, Technology

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