Unexpected Payoff

Twice the size, half the price When it implemented an automated data-collection system using operators' cell phones, the public works department of the city of Pearland, Texas, laid the groundwork for developing a model of sewer operations based on facts rather than best guesses. The model revealed that fewer new lift stations would be necessary, leading to a 47% reduction in projected capital expenditures.

Lift station with two (2) pumps This is a standalone lift station in a basin that's not leaky enough to require immediate remediation but which bears watching. Spikes reflect normal flow variation as well as rainfall. Source: Kirst Kosmoski Inc.

Citywide solution Blue drops represent electronically monitored (SCADA) lift stations; tan drops show the lift stations monitored using the cell phone-based system. Source: Kirst Kosmoski Inc.

Operators enter data by scrolling to an item on their phone's screen. Once a choice is highlighted, the “OK” key makes that selection. If the phone isn't within range of a cell tower, the data automatically transmits when the operator is back in range. Photos: BirdNest Services Inc.

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