For decades, the City of Richmond (Virginia) Department of Public Utilities has been working to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and improve water quality in the James River. Despite making significant improvements, the city still experiences between one and three billion gallons of annual overflow and is actively working to reach its regulatory water quality goals.
In 2020, as part of an effort to reduce pollution in the James River, the Virginia General Assembly mandated CSO reductions necessary to meet water quality standards by 2035. The General Assembly required the creation of an Interim Plan — short-term projects which could be started within one year of the Plan’s submission, be completed by July 1, 2027, and which would result in quantifiable, positive improvement to both operational costs and overall water quality — and a Final Plan to be submitted by 2024.
The City of Richmond used Xylem Wastewater Network Optimization, a real-time visualization and decision support system. Data were initially aggregated from sensors within the system – flow meters, level sensors, and rain gauges – with Xylem working alongside utility staff to guide the analysis and provide a clearer understanding of how the system was operating. The solution allowed the City of Richmond to combine these data into a centralized, user-friendly interface to clearly visualize the operations of its network. At the same time, Xylem’s hydroinformatics engineering team reviewed network data from historical storms to determine which assets could be upgraded to further increase capture.
- Expected CSO reduction of 182 million gallons annually
- CSO reduction will be achieved for an average of $0.18 per gallon, more than a 70% decrease from previous mitigation projects
- Expanded real-time sensor network increased system visibility, providing operators with more accurate flow data and recommendations to optimize capacity
We have been impressed with Xylem, not only their understanding of the technology but their team’s responsiveness and collaborative approach.– Pat Bradley, Deputy Director, City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities