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Case Study

Leveraging AI for Sewer Network Management in the UK

StormHarvester and Severn Trent complete successful proof-of-concept project for blockage detection, leading to a full network rollout of the solution.

AUTHOR

Related Topics

Sewer Blockage Detection

AI/Machine Learning

Severn Trent Water is one of the largest of the 11 regulated water and sewerage companies in England and Wales. It provides high quality water and waste services to more than 4.5 million homes and businesses in the Midlands, from the outskirts of Bristol to the southern suburbs of Sheffield.

THE CHALLENGE

Severn Trent wanted to strengthen their ability to respond to sewer network alerts. This would mean being able to prevent sewer blockages before they occur and reduce pollution and flooding leading to better protection for customers, communities and the environment. In February 2023, Severn Trent began working with StormHarvester on a proof-of-concept (PoC) for blockage detection on the wastewater catchment of South Derbyshire.

THE SOLUTION

Severn Trent Water provided sewer level data for 393 sites, which StormHarvester ingested and cleaned the sewer level data matching it with the corresponding hyperlocal rainfall data from the same locale. Focusing on a single catchment allowed Severn Trent to focus on the quality of alerts over a small area to ascertain the accuracy of StormHarvester predictions. During the trial, the nature and timing of the alerts allowed the Operations Team to move from reactive to proactive control by adjusting to a new way of working.

RESULTS

The highly accurate machine learning model meant that Operations Team at Severn Trent Water were alerted to potential blockages and pollutions ahead of time and were able to mobilise the appropriate response to the right place at the right time to return “full flow.” This meant there was no detriment to customers or the environment.

During the 5-month trial:

  • 11 pollution incidents were avoided.
  • 93 sites had remedial works completed and are now operating in an improved and steady managed state.
  • 46 restrictions/partial blockages were found and fixed.
  • 0 pollution events were missed by the StormHarvester system.

Following the success of the POC, Severn Trent Water have instigated a full network roll out of the StormHarvester solution.

Within the first few months the difference in performance was clear to see not only in the accuracy and timeliness of alerts, but also crucially during storm events the reduction in volume of alerts was very impressive. This gave us confidence to go ahead and roll out across our entire network. 

– Jason Dearlove, Waste Smart Networks Lead, Severn Trent Water
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