Atlanta upgrades to InfoWorks CS to aid environmental program


Courtesy of Innovyze

The City of Atlanta, Georgia, in the USA, has purchased InfoWorks CS to help it meet stringent US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Georgia State Environmental Protection Division (EPD) requirements for discharge of its wastewaters to the Chattahoochee River.

The Chattahoochee, one of the smallest rivers in the US supplying a metropolitan area, provides 80% of the city’s water needs. This means it is vital that the river remains as clean as possible but, like many cities, Atlanta has faced challenges in maintaining river quality due to stormwater overflows that discharge during periods of excessive rainfall.

The City, population 428,000 with a metropolitan area population of more than 4 million, has to comply with two Consent Decrees related to the quality of water in the Chattahoochee River. It must submit quarterly and yearly reports to the EPA and EPD about the condition of its sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) and has had to devise a program to control them, and it must reduce its combined sewer overflows (CSOs).

Atlanta’s wastewater system is vast ¾ it consists of approximately 1,900 miles of sewers and 36,000 manholes. The city is in the midst of a program that will completely eliminate the SSOs, via a combination of tunnels and sewer rehabilitation, a plan that has been approved by the EPA and EPD. So far, work has involved considerable amounts of investigation including CCTV analysis of 326 miles of sewer pipe, removal of 437 tons of sewer debris, and inspection of over 8,000 manholes.

The city´s Department of Watershed Management has ultimate responsibility for water and wastewater issues. Under DWM, the Bureau of Wastewater Treatment and Collection is responsible for service and maintenance of the sewer network; the Bureau of Program Development is responsible for managing the city´s Consent Decree efforts; and the Bureau of Drinking Water is responsible for the potable water system. A Bureau of Stormwater will be created to handle stormwater issues.

The $3.2 billion Clean Water Atlanta program is intended to improve the City’s environmental performance. Atlanta is undergoing an extensive sewer rehabilitation program as part of this overall project, separating sanitary and storm systems and replacing aging wastewater interceptors. In all, some 50 projects are under way this year. The ability to prioritize projects using InfoWorks CS will help streamline this extensive improvement process.

The solution’s database management system and scenarios, data flags, audit train, and ease of setting up multiple runs will also prove invaluable for such a major program. InfoWorks CS is also seen as the best solution for multiple modelers working on the same model at the same time.

Mr. Alberto Bechara, P.E. a chief Engineer with the Department of Watershed Management Bureau of Engineering, says that the City and its consultant are in the process of preparing to start using InfoWorks. ‘We decided to switch to Infoworks CS because of its better runtime, which is an asset for us, and its better capabilities in GIS and queries,” he says.

Mr. Bechara adds: ‘The previous dynamic modeling solution was not working very well; we were finding instability and the run time was a factor. InfoWorks is saving us money, and it is more effective in our operations.’

“We have performed our in-house assessment and re-evaluation of InfoWorks CS and our current modeling software, and have contacted other cities that have switched to InfoWorks. We feel comfortable with converting to InfoWorks CS and believe that the future payoff will be for our benefit.”

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