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Innovative sewer alarm system wins FPUD an award

 

Last updated 8/30/2007 at Noon



Nobody likes to think about something as unpleasant as a sewer spill. But the reality is that 40,000 occur nationwide, according to estimates by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

The Fallbrook Public Utility District (FPUD) recently won an award for taking part in an innovative pilot program using a specialized manhole cover that detects sewer spills before they happen.

The California Association of Sanitation Agencies presented the district with the Technological Achievement Award for installing the manhole covers and giving feedback to Hadronex – the designer – and then assisting in the follow-up design, thereby furthering a technology that protects public health and the environment.

The SmartCover technology seems basic enough: the SmartCover has electronics attached to the underside and replaces the normal manhole cover. When sewage levels rise beyond normal levels, or if the manhole cover is opened, alarms are generated and sent to FPUD personnel’s cell phones or pagers, typically within 30 seconds. Employees respond quickly enough to avert a spill or illegal dumping.

Since FPUD began using the SmartCover system more than two years ago, at least one spill has been prevented and employees have been alerted to other activity like teenagers attempting to get into the manhole. Word of the SmartCovers’ success has spread and other sewer agencies in San Diego, Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles counties have begun installing them.

“This technology is exciting and our district has benefited from having this heads-up alarm system for both detecting water levels in the manholes, and also detecting unauthorized intrusions into the manholes,” said FPUD General Manager Keith Lewinger.

The system also connects to a secure Web site whereby employees can monitor water levels and other data. FPUD currently has five SmartCovers installed in the district.

For more information about the SmartCover, contact Hadronex at (760) 291-1980 or log on to http://www.hadronex.com.

 

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