Second in a series

The I/I Issue: What’s The Big Deal?

In our first post of this series, we defined inflow and infiltration, or I/I. In this post, we’ll explore the reasons it’s a huge problem in wastewater management.

The reason I/I presents huge challenges for municipalities stems from four basic issues:

  • Upstream – Pipeline Capacity: Conveyance system pipeline capacities being overwhelmed and causing sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) during significant rain events
  • Upstream – Overflow Costs: Imposition of fines, consent decrees, and loss of funding opportunities dues to frequent SSOs
  • Downstream – Treatment Capacity: Huge amounts of clear water overwhelming the treatment capacity of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and increasing pumping costs
  • Downstream – Treatment Costs: Dilution of sewage directly increasing costs of chlorination, ozonation, or ultraviolet disinfection

Let’s take a more detailed look at each of these problems.

Upstream Issues: Pipeline Capacity

As discussed in our previous post, I/I flows are referred to as “clear water.” This distinguishes it from sanitary sewage flows. This clear water gets treated right along with the sanitary flows, resulting in unnecessary costs for municipalities. The clear water also eats up valuable capacity inside a collection system. These systems are built and rated to accept only so much total flow. Most American cities’ collection systems are at least 75 years old. They were built to service far smaller populations than they must now accommodate. These systems are already working at maximum capacity.

Many communities are likely to experience some SSOs. However, older communities located downstream from overloaded city sewer systems will experience them most, due to their lower elevation in the watershed. The sanitary sewer systems in these older communities carry nor just their own wastewater and I/I; they also receive flows from their upstream neighbors’ sewer systems. When they experience higher volume created by stormwater leaking in from rain events, they must either divert flows into holding tanks, if available. If not, they suffer SSOs.

Upstream Issues: Overflow Costs

These SSOs are a health hazard. They can create serious flooding events that cause unsanitary water to back up into buildings. They can also create a situation in which the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues a Consent Decree. This is an order for the city to fix the problem, at huge public cost. The city or agency may fail to meet federal or state guidelines for the integrity of its system. Excessive I/I can be an indicator of such failing systems. This situation can cause these municipalities to become ineligible for low-interest loans from grant or revolving fund opportunities. That makes this a significant and circular problem.

There are other costs associated with I/I overflows, including:

  • road and waterway cleanup
  • the potential for fines if the overflow problem is not corrected
  • litigation and potential liabilities for the responsible city or agency, resulting from sewer system backups into basements or households

Downstream Issues: Treatment Capacity

Clear water also takes up valuable capacity at WWTPs. According to Kirby Van Note, a water resources practice center leader at SEH (an engineering, architectural, environmental and planning company), a single leak from a joint in a manhole or pipe can generate 7,200 gallons of water daily. The cost of its treatment at the wastewater plant can translate into an annual cost of $6,500 for a city. Multiply this cost by the number of leaks across the sanitary sewer system, and you can imagine its hefty price tag for a municipality.

To accommodate massive flow influx from I/I, overwhelmed wastewater treatment plants must speed up their processes. As a result, poorly treated domestic and industrial wastewater is often discharged to the environment. Unremoved organics may be converted to disinfection byproducts through chemical disinfection prior to discharge, but not every plant has this capacity.

Downstream Issues: Treatment Costs

I/I costs water treatment facilities (and, indirectly, consumers) vast amounts of money in treatment operating expenses. All water entering a WWTP must be treated as wastewater. Dilution of sewage by clear water directly increases the cost of pumping the flows. Physical structures, including screens and pumps, must be enlarged to handle the peak flow. Primary clarifiers must also be enlarged to treat average flows, though primary treatment of peak flows may be accomplished in detention basins.

I/I also increases actual treatment costs. This includes chlorination, ozonation, or ultraviolet disinfection, depending on the type of treatment used by the plant.

What About Secondary Treatment?

Biological secondary treatment can only be effective while the concentration of soluble and colloidal pollutants remains high enough to sustain enough microorganisms to digest those pollutants. These pollutants are typically measured as biochemical oxygen demand, or BOD. Secondary treatment is expected to remove 85 percent of soluble and colloidal organic pollutants from sewage containing 200 mg/L BOD. But BOD removal by conventional biological secondary treatment becomes less effective with clear water dilution. It practically ceases when BOD concentrations entering the facility are diluted below about 20 mg/L.

In cases where this capacity overwhelm is happening, cities must often face difficult decisions. Do they invest dollars to reduce I/I, or limit new residential or economic development? New development can strain collection systems already operating at capacity. They sometimes even lead to the need for repairs. However, limiting residential or economic development opportunities stifles a city’s growth. It also sacrifices opportunities to capture tax revenue. Both can create a financial burden for the city.

You can easily see now why inflow and infiltration have become such enormous issues in any municipality’s wastewater management and public works operations and infrastructure budget. In our next post, we’ll take a look at how we arrived at this point, and how sources of I/I can be detected.

WWETT show booth, day one

Show Seasons: Thanks for a great February!

February is always a busy month here at TrioVision/Cobra Technologies, and this year was no exception. It’s big show season, and we took ours on the road to Perry, Georgia for the APW Show, and to Indianapolis for the WWETT Show.

It’s always so great to see our current customers face to face, and to meet and make new ones. Technology is great (it’s our business!) but there’s nothing like being able to put a face with a name, and to really get a sense of our clients the way it’s only possible in person.

The Big Shows

At both big shows, we had the distinct pleasure and pride of being able to showcase a few of our customers’ custom inspection vehicles, in which we had installed various of our systems, software and pieces of equipment.

Randy AskeaWe wish to thank Randy Askea of Continental Pipe Services in Atlanta, for allowing us to use the Cobra Technologies mobile CCTV inspection van we created for them at the GPWA show.

We were really proud to display our TrioVision TVT 150 Pipe Inspection System at both shows. This robust, Windows-based system performs complete CCTV pipe inspections, recording pipeline defects and synchronously transmitting video to the control unit. Our daylight-readable touch-screen monitor, along with our portable control unit, processes and saves videos in the field. Show attendees were pretty impressed, too.

TrioVision Xplorer FreeHD Pole Camera SystemWe also showcased our new Xplorer FreeHD Pole Camera System, a wireless high definition (Full HD 1920×1080) lightweight, portable video inspection system operable by one person. The system is capable of capturing stunning 1080P video and photos that your clients will appreciate and your community deserves. The control unit is based on user preference, and can be an off-the-shelf Windows® 10 Professional tablet PC, convertible laptop or standard laptop.

Cobra inspection truck and equipmentWe had a blast demonstrating our new Cobra C-801 belt drive mainline crawler and the C510 steerable storm crawler, as well as our muscular new King Cobra steerable transporter, with tracks or wheels on demand, automatic freewheel and automatic drive engagement, variable speed and versatile remote/manual elevator. It looks as cool as it sounds.

King Cobra Crawler

We gave away FREE NASSCO-certified PACP Software at the WWETT Show, just for stopping to visit us in our booth—just another way we always try to go above and beyond expectations.

All in all, it was a memorable show season, in which we proved our commitment to helping take the industry to the next level. As always, though, we couldn’t do it without you, and we really appreciate everyone who supports us as we support you.

AssetDMS – Setting A Higher Bar

AssetDMS screen

One of the products we’re most proud to introduce to the market is the latest version of AssetDMS, our highly engineered CCTV asset inspection recording and reporting software.

Employing an operator-friendly, intuitive touchscreen interface, AssetDMS condition assessment software makes data collection and analysis more second nature than work. Collection of data is highly streamlined, simplified and accurate with the use of built-in user prompts, so critical information is always captured.

Robust and Versatile

It’s all in the touch… AssetDMS is compatible with a wide range of manufacturer’s CCTV systems

  • Import/Export from ANY certified PACP/LACP/MACP database
  • No need to remember all PACP codes and rules
  • PACP reference photos for codes
  • Extensive reporting and easy to understand analysis tools

Learn More

Call or click today for more information, or a free demonstration of the AssetDMS software suite, or any of our full range of CCTV inspection technology. Call Toll-free 800.443.3761 or email.

Show Season: See You In Indy!

Our WWETT Show booth

Stop by and see us in Booth #6048 to see exciting new products and get show special pricing!

Having just come off our exhibit at the Underground Construction Technology Show in Ft. Worth, we now head to Indianapolis for the granddaddy of trade shows in our industry, The WWETT Show.

WWETT – The Show of Shows

If you’ve been there before, you’ll know it’s the largest annual U.S. trade show for the wastewater management industry. We know we’ll see many of you before the actual show floor opens, attending the many sessions during Education Day.

With so many offerings to choose from, including everything from safety and how-to, to business management and best practices, we know you’ll be stuffing your brains with the most up-to-date information concerning our industry.

Then, we look forward to you taking all that knowledge onto the show floor to help you choose the best new products to help you do your job faster, more easily, efficiently and effectively. That’s where we come in!

We’re really looking forward to having you stop by and visit us in Booth #6048, where we’ll be displaying and demonstrating several exciting new products this year!

Keep your eyes open for:

We’ll also be featuring the latest version of our feature-packed AssetDMS inspection recording and reporting software. You’ll want to see its new features, and especially the special show price we’ll be offering on this state-of-the-art technology.

See you in Indy!

WWETT Show 2018

For the first time, all three of our product lines will be showcased together. These include: