Beckley Sanitary Board Controls Runoff in the Cloud

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The Beckley Sanitary Board’s (BSB) Ewart Avenue iPond project capitalizes on the emerging availability and advancements in low-cost, internet-accessible controller systems — with wired and wireless communications – to allow for real-time, dynamic control of stormwater infrastructure. This new control technology accounts for, and manages, the highly variable nature of wet weather induced runoff, and for its innovation and application, won NACWA’s National Environmental Achievement Award.

The iPond project successfully demonstrates at scale, the innovative ability to combine environmental sensors with a cloud-based system of algorithms to automate the management of a large regional stormwater facility for enhancing infrastructure utilization, balancing multiple environmental objectives (i.e. flood mitigation and water quality) and providing real-time performance metrics for maintenance and reporting. This project applied Continuous Monitoring and Adaptive Control (CMAC) technology to retrofit an existing stormwater detention basin in Beckley, WV, and subsequently reduced the flooding of a critical roadway intersection downstream.

The vulnerability of BSB’s sanitary and storm sewer assets to wet weather impacts has driven its leadership to continually look at emerging weather prediction and monitoring systems to improve real-time management, environmental performance, and utility resiliency. This innovative mindset allowed BSB to identify and deploy the CMAC solutions of OptiRTC, Inc.

In February 2017, the passive system was retrofitted with adaptive controls to the detention pond to improve the mitigation downstream flooding and prevent stream erosion. Rainfall, flow, temperature, conductivity, and total suspended solids meters continuously monitor and collect data from the pond and key points in the watershed. Field data is reported to Opti’s cloud in real-time where it is analyzed based on algorithms. These algorithms based on watershed management objectives are used to automate the pond’s water level and control the rate of discharge from the pond through an internet-connected actuated valve.

The Opti Cloud provides automatic alerts to BSB, improving storm responsiveness and maintenance efforts. Notification also improves the ability to communicate public safety risks from severe rain events. BSB’s use of its iPond sensors also allows better measurement and verification of environmental stream flows and rainfall distributions.

With the implementation of the iPond’s CMAC technology, BSB has gained a valuable new tool in its ability to manage stormwater for the community it serves.