Get Immediate Analysis of System Flow

Software tool provides real-time data on wet-weather response of sewer systems.

Get Immediate Analysis of System Flow

Infinitii I&I is a web-based software tool that can help pinpoint areas for immediate investigation after a storm event and provide insight into historical trends that can indicate areas of aging infrastructure in need of upgrade.

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Extreme weather has caused $3 billion in flood damage in the Midwestern U.S. alone so far in 2019, putting significant stress on sewer systems.

A combination of fluctuating and extreme wet-weather patterns and aging infrastructure is causing problems with wastewater collections systems across North America like never before. As hundred- and even thousand-year storm events increase in frequency, a holistic understanding of systems and their capacity is needed to plan proactively and ensure property and assets are protected.

FlowWorks Inc. (Carl Data Solutions) Infinitii I&I is a tool for the wastewater management industry that uses machine learning, advanced analytics and statistical analysis to provide ongoing, real-time data on the wet-weather response of sewer systems. Using automated tools that are built on proven methods of storm event and inflow-and-infiltration analysis, this web-based software provides timesaving calculations that can help pinpoint areas for immediate investigation after a storm event and provide insight into historical trends that can indicate areas of aging infrastructure in need of upgrade.

Each automated feature of this software allows users to convert their projects and studies into a manual form that allows the data to be manipulated and exported to a CSV file.

Pilot studies

Currently, there are seven municipalities across Canada and the U.S. piloting FlowWorks Infinitii I&I. In March, the city of North Vancouver, British Columbia, became the latest municipal partner to pilot this software.

“I&I management is an important long-term initiative that should be continually supported by reliable and timely monitoring data,” says Dave Matsubara, the city of North Vancouver’s infrastructure engineer. “Having real-time I&I analysis updates will be valuable for us as a small municipality. Our current team can evaluate our infrastructure and further characterize storm events that are driving I&I so we can target potential problems and prioritize new projects.”

Infinitii I&I is designed to work on a real-time monitoring platform that provides web-based GIS maps of the locations of sensors and devices, and access to their data. The FlowWorks platform connects to any sensor or data source and provides tools for historical, real-time and predictive analysis of environmental data. This platform has been used by dozens of North American municipalities over the past 12 years to provide immediately accessible data in a variety of intuitive graphical representations.

Input sources

A network of sensors that include flow monitoring devices and rain gauges are needed to provide the data for the I&I analysis. I&I quantification begins with accurate, reliable and repeatable sewer flow data. “Flow data” is defined as continuously recorded, electronic, time-series sewer flow. A pilot project can be initiated with three months to a year of monitoring data, but large amounts of historical data can be accommodated and actually enhance the performance of the software’s machine-learning-enabled features.

The dashboard provides a color-coded map view of the different catchments being monitored. A catchment has at least one flow device and rain gauge associated with it. Its size is defined by the municipality’s operations team. Thresholds then can be set to indicate when there is an I&I event, and the area will be colored green, yellow, orange or red with increasing severity.

The Storm Event Finder feature uses the amount and duration of rainfall to automatically define the date and time of a significant storm event. Machine learning is built using linear regression models to help define the 15 most significant storm events. Time parameters can be set to specify periods of time, such as seasons, where significant storm events relative to that time can be found. This enables fast identification of storms for I&I studies and is useful for engineers who must study a variety of storms to ensure accuracy in their studies and reports.

omparing variables

Regression is a method of modeling a target value based on independent predictors. This method is mostly used for forecasting and finding out cause-and-effect relationships between variables. Regression techniques mostly differ based on the number of independent variables and the type of relationship between the independent and dependent variables. Linear regression is a type of regression analysis where there is a linear relationship between the independent (x) and dependent (y) variables.

The Dry Weather Pattern Finder feature predefines an optimized pattern to use when studying a specific storm event. When a project is exported, users can define the dry-weather-pattern parameters and the system will fetch the data. It also allows users to quickly build their own dry-weather patterns. Select several dry days and the system will average them out to determine the pattern for a single dry day.

Infinitii I&I uses the I&I Envelope Method for analysis in the application since it is relatively easy to apply to collected data and provides a means of normalizing I&I results. It is an economical and practical method of standardizing I&I analysis. This graphical method is based on a summary of rainfall and sewer flow data from flow monitoring. By plotting these results, a relationship between rainfall and rainfall dependent I&I can be developed. The purpose of the I&I Envelope Method is to use a collection of recorded storm events to create a correlation between the amount of rain that falls in a catchment and the amount of I&I that shows up at the flow monitoring site.

The FlowWorks RDII features automatically generate a Correlation Graph for a selected catchment site. For each catchment, you choose the Flow Channel, Dry Weather Pattern, Rainfall Site or Storm Event Group RDII Charts/Correlation Graphs. The user can toggle between Correlation Graph view and RDII Chart view at any time. As with all Infinitii I&I analysis features, data can be exported to view all values associated with each chart, graph and calculation. In future iterations, features like Catchment Age Relationship Analysis could be developed into the Infinitii I&I tool.

Alan Tse, M.Eng., P.Eng., from the consulting firm Kerr Wood Leidal has over eight years’ experience running a variety of I&I studies. Tse reviewed the Infinitii I&I tool and says he found it very useful after a significant storm event, especially when flooding occurred. “After any flooding event, the question anyone asks is, ‘Why did it happen?’ With Infinitii I&I, you get a preliminary idea of when, where and how I&I was a factor. And there are already numbers and data to work with instead of rushing to crunch numbers to understand the significance of the storm event in relation to the sanitary system.”

Infinitii I&I helps save engineers and operations departments hours of preliminary work, providing insights any time, so that municipalities don’t need to wait years between their I&I studies and can have a more forward-facing approach to infrastructure planning. As technologies like Infinitii I&I help to improve the efficiency of sewer systems and affordability of real-time monitoring, municipalities and consulting engineers will continue to gain more value from their growing infrastructure monitoring networks and environmental data.


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