Combined sewer overflow structures (CSO) play an important role in sewer networks. When the local capacity of a sewer system is exceeded during intense rainfall events, they act as a "safety valve" and discharge excess rainfall run-off and wastewater directly to a natural receiving water body, thus preventing widespread urban flooding. There is a regulatory requirement that solids in CSO spills must be small and their amount strictly controlled. Therefore, a vast majority of CSOs in the UK contain screens. This paper presents the results of a feasibility study of using low-cost, low-energy acoustic sensors to remotely assess the condition of CSO screens to move to cost-effective reactive maintenance visits. In situ trials were carried out in several CSOs to evaluate the performance of the acoustic sensor under realistic screen and flow conditions. The results demonstrate that the system is robust within ±2.5% to work successfully in a live CSO environment. The observed changes in the screen condition resulted in 8-39% changes in the values of the coefficient in the proposed acoustic model. These changes are detectable and consistent with observed screen and hydraulic data. This study suggested that acoustic-based sensing can effectively monitor the CSO screen blockage conditions and hence reduce the risk of non-compliant CSO spills.
Keywords: CSO; acoustic sensor; screen; wastewater infrastructure.