SmartCover Monitoring Program Pilot

SmartCover Monitoring System

SmartCover Monitoring Pilot Program

Utilizing funding from Risk Management and Capital Improvement, UC Berkeley installed four SmartCover sanitary sewer system monitoring stations in the winter of 2019 as part of a pilot program to test a real-time monitoring and alerting system for our sanitary sewer infrastructure.  In order to mitigate any potential sanitary sewer overflows and potential property damage, UC Berkeley installed four sanitary sewer monitoring stations.

These sensors use ultrasonic echo waves to determine the level of sewage flow in the sewer pipe.  If the level begins to rise quickly that could mean a blockage is causing sewage to back up in the pipe and could lead to raw sewage overflowing out of a manhole and out into the street or a plaza where people could be exposed to it.  When a sensor "sees" a rising level, it sends an alarm signal, via satellite, to campus environmental protection and plumbing staff so they can rapidly respond to the blocked sewer and clear it before an overflow happens.

As a result of the successful implementation in the campus sanitary sewers, UC Berkeley installed an additional three SmartCover monitoring stations to monitor campus stormdrains and Strawberry Creek for rapid changes in flow level which can mean harmful discharges (water main breaks with chlorinated drinking water or sewer overflows going into the stormdrain system).  


Real-time monitoring of flow and stage with alarm set points built in not only provide early warning of potential harmful overflows and discharges but also provide flow data that can used by engineers and planners to determine capacity issues when the campus decides to add or expand labs and classrooms.


UC Berkeley has prevented two potential overflow conditions at a sanitary sewer manhole, where there was a blockage in the line.  Facilities Services staff was able to dislodge the blockage before it became an overflow condition.  Later, when stormwater and creek sensor were added, staff were alerted to a harmful flow of fire fighting foam and water.

Next Steps

Expand the SmartCover monitoring system network to identify any additional issues including potential sanitary sewer overflows, blockages, inflow/infiltration rates

Learn more!

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Firefighting foam in Strawberry Creek

Firefighting foam in Strawberry Creek

Firefighting foam found in Strawberry Creek as a result of an alert from the SmartCover monitoring system.