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Kansas City progresses 22-mile smart sewer assessment project

It forms part of the city’s $4.5 billion sewer programme – the largest infrastructure investment in its 160-year history – funded through wastewater enterprise funds.

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The smart sewer programme uses the Electro Scan technology to identify high-risk assets
The smart sewer programme uses the Electro Scan technology to identify high-risk assets

Kansas City, Missouri, has chosen Electro Scan’s leak detection technology for condition assessment of a 22-mile section of sewer.

 

The project forms part of the city’s $4.5 billion smart sewer programme – the largest infrastructure investment in its 160-year history – funded entirely through wastewater enterprise funds.

 

Innovative infrastructure solutions

 

The smart sewer programme uses data and technology to implement innovative infrastructure solutions, estimated to help the city realise up to $1 billion in cost efficiencies.

 

In order to meet its obligation, the city has increased wastewater rates by 291 per cent since the onset of the programme. In order to mitigate the size of additional rate increases, the programme seeks innovative and cost-effective ways to meet the regulatory mandates.

 

“The burden placed on Kansas City’s ratepayers is extraordinary,” said Andy Shively, special assistant city manager, Kansas City. “And careful selection of key technologies is a major factor to help us deploy our capital projects and ensure long-term environmental compliance.”

 

Earier this year when interviewed by SmartCtiesWorld about the project, Shivley said: “I tell other cities that a smart city starts eight feet below the ground and goes up from there.”

 

Part of the city’s data-centric approach includes investing in knowledge about its existing infrastructure.

 

Under the programme, Kansas reports it has surveyed 97 per cent of its sewer mains using traditional closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and manual coding of defects using visual inspection.

“Careful selection of key technologies is a major factor to help us deploy our capital projects and ensure long-term environmental compliance”

In contrast, the use of Electro Scan’s machine-intelligent focused electrode leak location (Fell) technology automatically pinpoints defect locations and measures sources of infiltration in gallons per minute. This will help to assess and prioritise pipes for rehabilitation, eliminating human subjectivity and manual coding of defects.

 

According to Kansas, Fell technology will be combined with Shively’s hydrogeology infiltration approach to ensure accuracy.

 

Much of its smart sewer programme success is attributed to Shively’s “capital technology” approach, a term he coined in 2017, that includes strategic and integrated application of technology to drive capital improvement priorities.

 

In 2018, Fell technology was used by Kansas City to assess 30,000 linear feet of recently installed cured-in-place pipe and is currently included in rehabilitation specifications to test and certify liners for watertightness, in accordance with ASTM F2550 standard.

 

Prior to awarding this project, the programme conducted extensive trials of the technology resulting in the purchase of its own Electro Scan equipment. This is currently used for its ongoing stream crossing programme to assess pipelines located in environmentally sensitive areas and in close proximity to rivers and streams.

 

As part of the project, California-based Electro Scan has provided a technology-as-a-service licencing agreement to have a national contractor complete the field work.

 

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