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Innovative technology continuously monitors sewer networks to promptly identify polluters and reduce nuisance odours.

Hard times are upon those who discharge polluting substances into the waters of the Metropolitan City of Milan. CAP Group, the water utility of the territory, has introduced innovative “electronic detectives” that can detect pollutants in real time in order to identify illegal discharges, reduce bad odours and environmental impact. The system is based on the innovative technology developed by “Kando”, based on an “Early Warning” approach which allows the early detection of the presence of pollutants in sewage. This advanced system uses a prevention and control system to ensure better predictability of pollutants and allow the possibility of detecting irregular discharges very quickly.

The new continuous monitoring system of the sewer network follows the pilot project carried out in the Pero treatment plant basin, one of the largest of those managed by CAP Group: it serves 21 municipalities for an equivalent of 620,000 inhabitants. The area has also been chosen for the various production activities present, such as waste treatment, pharmaceutical, chemical and galvanic companies. The results of the first phase have already led to a crime alert and the start of control activities coordinated with ARPA (Regional Environmental Protection Agency) and with the provincial police. The origin of the abnormal discharge has been identified and the source of pollution blocked.

Monitoring the quality of sewage makes it possible on the one hand to accurately detect any illegal discharges by industrial users, and on the other to detect the presence of a certain pollutant in the sewer network in real time and calculate its arrival at the treatment plant. This is key information for CAP technicians, who can implement real “buffer measures” to mitigate the impact of the substances on the treatment process inside the plant.

The project involves the installation of probes able to analyse different parameters along the entire sewer network. The analysis of each parameter identifies a specific pollution index allowing, through the application's correlation and self-learning, to immediately identify any pollution and so promptly proceed with any interventions.

The parameter detection units can be supplemented by an automatic sampler that takes an instantaneous sample when the probe detects abnormal data, which is then analysed in the laboratory to acquire the exact contaminant content.