Sewer systems

Urban drainage systems are among the most precious infrastructure systems of a city, as their maintenance involves large investments. Most urban drainage systems have been designed as (essentially) static systems. Within the research focus of “Sewer Systems”, ifak develops and applies methods and tools which allow to use the sewer networks (often designed as static systems) in a dynamic way.

Real-time control of urban drainage systems

Adding dynamic components to it (e.g. movable gates, pumps, weirs) leads, in many cases, to increased performance of the system, for example, as overflow discharge volumes or loads of (essentially untreated) wastewaters are reduced. Furthermore, control of the drainage system, i.e. actively influencing the flows in the system, may result in its increased flexibility; hence, the system is better prepared for adaptation to future challenges (e.g. different rainfall patterns).

Generalized control

In order to benefit from control at a minimum effort, ifak has developed generalized control algorithms, which can be adapted to most drainage systems. Their further refinement, but also the application of control concepts in practice, is part of various projects, carried out with partners from application practice. Furthermore, ifak is involved in several related national and international committees.

Integrated Assessment

The sewer system is not a stand-alone system, but has numerous interactions also with the wastewate treatment plant and with the receiving water body. Therefore, these components are to be considered jointly as one single system. With its expertise in sewer systems, wastewater treatment plants, sludge digestion and river water quality modelling, ifak’s Department of “Water and Energy” is a sought-after partner for such integrated modelling studies. Experts of ifak also have been involved in the compilation of recently published DWA documents on “Increased Sewage Inflow” and “Real-time Control of Urban Drainage Systems”.