Sanitary and Combined Sewer Overflows – a Fast, Effective Solution

How good is your spill response system, particularly in emergencies?

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May 18, 2020 | Tony Andrews

3 minute read

Protect Property and Your Reputation

Reducing the occurrence and volume of sanitary sewer (SSOs) and combined sewer overflows (CSOs) contributes to ecologically, social and economically sound wastewater management for communities, while protecting private and commercial property and the reputation of the water utility.

Networks with capacity issues, maintenance or structural problems such as blockages and collapses that restrict capacity, and unpredictable wet weather events, are some of the reasons why SSOs and CSOs occur.

What can you do to be prepared?

Read on for a brief description, or in more depth in our solution paper, Responding to Combined and Sanitary Sewer Spills.

Read the solution paper now >

The Clock Is Ticking

In the unfortunate event of an SSO or CSO incident, water operators require an emergency response solution in order to minimize the impact of these unforeseen events. This means mobilizing field crews in response to the incident, and recording details of the spill that includes identifying the cause, reason and impact of the failure.

The utility needs to determine the location, extent and volume of the spill, and further mobilize field crews to repair and clean up the problem. Once the incident has been reported, the clock is ticking to respond quickly and efficiently, work productively and safely to get the work done, and report the findings to stakeholders such as regulators.

Estimating the spill volume and extent


Tools to Help

The InfoAsset solution incorporating InfoAsset Manager and Mobile provides a utility with a set of tools to record the SSO or CSO incident; and ensure that up-to-date and accurate data and information is provided directly in the hands of field crews. The field crews are assigned the work via InfoAsset Manager and can use InfoAsset Mobile SSO/CSO reporting templates to complete the job in the field – no need to return to an office to do any digitizing or keying of reports. Sketches, photographs and videos associated with all aspects and stages of the work can be captured and stored centrally in InfoAsset Manager.

InfoAsset Mobile can support simple and complex workflows incorporating all aspects of the work that is required to successfully close out the incident and report to stakeholders. Work approval and request for equipment and resources can be communicated from the field to the office. Reactive work orders can be generated in the field during or after the completion of a task, so that, after inspection has been completed, the appropriate work order can be raised to fix the problem and schedule remediation.

Tracking crew locations

Working Connected To, or Disconnected From, the Office

Crews using InfoAsset Mobile can work either connected, or disconnected from the office if they're in a remote area without mobile data availability.

The information, data and media related to all aspects of the spill can be uploaded to the office from the field via mobile data communications, or when the field crews are able to connect to their organization’s network. This ensures that office-based colleagues can efficiently monitor the progress of the work, accessing up-to-date and relevant information as it is collected, and enabling them to provide advice to the field crews as they discover and record more details related to the spill.

Incident Reporting Form

Key Performance Indicators

This also enables managers capture key performance metrics related to:

  • The time it took to respond to the initial reporting of the incident
  • The time it took to mobilize the crews to begin work
  • How much time and resources were consumed on each task

… as well as reporting on the problems faced and learning from the experience in order, to improve the work flows in future.

Staff in the water utility using InfoAsset Manager can quickly and efficiently query and report on any aspect of the data and information related to the incident, the work carried out, crews, equipment, material and resources, as well as the asset that failed, answering questions related to response and completion times, cost of labor, equipment, material and resources. Recent incidents can be analyzed in the context of historic records, providing insights into the relative performance of the network from one year to the next.

This helps the utility to properly manage, operate and maintain their wastewater collection system to minimize sanitary and combined sewer overflows and mitigate their impact if any occur.

More Information

Read the full solution paper, Responding to Combined and Sanitary Sewer Spills  >

Discover more about InfoAsset  >

Get in touch or arrange a demo: fill in a product inquiry form or contact us

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Tags: InfoAsset Manager, InfoAsset Mobile, InfoAsset Online, SSO and CSO, incident response

About the Authors

Tony Andrews

Tony Andrews

Global Product Manager for InfoAsset Asset Management product line and solutions


Tony has spent 30 years working in the water sector as a hydrologist, GIS specialist, hydraulic modeling, and asset management specialist, in research, consultancy and commercial software professional roles.