Functionality of the metropolitan sewer system improved in Water Technology Hackathon
The Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY provided an exotic framework for coding as well as meaningful targets for the thirty Aalto University students of Water Technology and University of Helsinki students of Computer Science in the Water Hackath organised over the weekend.
There are about 3 000 km of sewers and 500 sewage pumping stations in the Helsinki metropolitan area. The sewer system directs all sewage waters to HSY’s sewage treatment plants in Viikinmäki and Suomenoja, where they are purified very efficiently. Some rain water that would not need treatment also ends up in the system. This burdens the sewer system as well as the sewage treatment plants. Energy and sewage treatment chemicals are partly being used unnecessarily.
At worst, some untreated sewage water overflows to the natural water systems. However, it is difficult to locate problem points as well as to direct renovation measures efficiently in a wide underground system. The challenging task given to the Hackathon weekend was to develop new ideas for the management of the sewer network. A huge amount of data was available from the rainfall radars of the Finnish Meteorological Institute as well as from the automation system in HSY’s sewer network.
Students of technology as water experts in groups
Solutions were sought in five groups in which students of technology served as technological experts. On Sunday, after a 48-hour period of intense work, all groups had gathered together useful information and tools, for example, for localising leaks and blockages in the sewer system or for a better management of the sewer system with help of map and visualisation applications. The group that presented an impressive tool for carrying out an automated deviation analysis using different databases was awarded for the best work. HSY will begin to develop the solutions created in Hackathon further.
Hackathon was part of HSY’s Smart Water project aimed at improving the resource effectiveness of the water services. It also aims to build the tools for managing the increasing amount of data produced by the modern water services.