LIFT Intelligent Water System Challenge Recognizes Innovative Water Solutions

During WEFTEC 2018, a team from Great Lakes Water Authority (Detroit) and the University of (Ann Arbor) Michigan won the first Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology (LIFT) Intelligent Water Systems Challenge.

The team won for using data analytics to develop a tool to maximize the use of existing collection systems and minimize combined sewer overflows in Detroit. The project, Open-Storm Detroit Dynamics, earned the team a $25,000 prize from Xylem Inc. (Rye Brook, N.Y.). The proposed solution would enable Detroit’s current infrastructure to handle an estimated additional 378.5 million L (100 million gal) which would save about $500 million.

“As we continue to support and promote innovation in the water sector, we are also looking for ways to integrate practical applications,” said Eileen O’Neill, executive director of the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.). “Our hope is that the Intelligent Water Challenge will demonstrate the value of intelligent water systems to utilities and help foster the adoption of smart water technologies.”

Other prizes presented were

  • second-place, $15,000 prize, to team members from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Ensaras Inc. (Champaign, Ill.), and the University of Illinois at Chicago, for their project, Developing Intelligent Advanced Warning Systems for Odors at Thornton-Composite-Reservoir;
  • third-place, $5000 prize, to the team from Clean Water Services (Hillsboro, Ore.) for their project, Influential Pump Station Optimization; and
  • most elegant solution, $2,500 prize, to the team from Pima County, Ariz., for creating integrated data reporting tools that capturing data across multiple formats and databases.

The challenge is hosted by LIFT, a joint effort of the WEF and the Water Resource Foundation (Denver). For the challenge, students, professionals, and technology experts were asked to use innovation and data to help solve difficult issues facing water and wastewater utilities. A total 19 teams participated.

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