The Advanced Hydraulic Modeling Advantage for Consent Decree Resolution

Advanced Modeling

In the sewer and stormwater maintenance business, the words ‘consent decree’ often invoke anxiety, dread and a very real concern that resolution will be lengthy and expensive.

In the water world, these agreements are often a result of violations of the Clean Water Act. Mitigation varies from wastewater treatment plant enhancements to full capital improvement projects and plans. Most are facilitated by capacity, management, operations and maintenance (CMOM) programs that outline the goals and the plans for execution to achieve agreed upon results.

When it comes to resolving consent decrees and demonstrating compliance, hydraulic modeling provides a clear benefit in delivering effective and timely solutions—particularly with the new advances that have been introduced in today’s modern solutions such as the Autodesk InfoWorks ICM.

InfoWorks ICM, a fully integrated hydraulic solution for river, urban drainage and overflow modeling, is custom designed to support capacity improvements and system expansions and for the development of alternative scenarios with ease and accuracy. It’s a workgroup based, modeling and configuration management system that can also be used as a standalone product—and it’s latest features are impressive.

Here are three ways InfoWorks ICM is supporting the resolution of consent decree obligations.

1. Automated Rule/Validation Tools: InfoWorks ICM is packed with data management tools such as built-in data flags, engineering line validation features and upstream/downstream inferencing capabilities. Data flags are a powerful tool for showing data origins and to mark data for automatic update, thus ensuring data integrity. InfoWorks ICM includes several standard built in data flags such as asset data, system default, GeoPlans (external geographic data), Model Imports and CSV Imports and the ability to customize.

Built in engineering line validation features verify that network designs are consistent with expected engineering values. For instance, these validation rules insure conduit lengths, pipe dimensions and gradients, nodes, subcatchment values, etc. InfoWorks ICM includes a Validation Rule editor that allows users to build custom rules without any knowledge of SQL.

The data inference feature is an especially big time saver for hydrologists. The built-in inferencing tools fill in missing upstream/downstream data values in a network such as gaps in GIS data or inverts and head loss coefficients.

2. Workgroup Cloud Database: The latest version includes cloud workgroup model management capability where teams can work together in a shared space to create unified models. It’s a multi-user workgroup environment designed to facilitate collaboration and data integrity. Team members check out versions, perform assessments and make revisions. Also, hydrologic engineers can easily step back to previous versions of the model and there are unlimited redo/undo options as well. It also allows users to incorporate different data sources such as time-series data or GIS data. Bottom line, the project team spends less time transferring, extracting and re-formatting data.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s water engineers are using the Workgroup Database to simultaneously develop scenarios to improve the city’s large and complex combined sewer system.

3. Live Modeling/Condition Awareness: The live modeling tool, ICMLive, links with both scalar and spatial data to provide a near-real-time view of network performance. For instance, the tool integrates with  hydraulic models, SCADA historians, and GIS programs. The ICM time-series data base (TSCB) can take in radar data to forecast the impact of rainfall on collection system performance, flooding, and probability of overflow events while running a simulation to see how well things are calibrated. Even better, it can help both engineers and operators automatically harvest and quality check data. ICMLive lets users run a 24-hour a day automated live modeling system with the ability to intelligently interrogate forecast conditions. Users can also issue alerts based on logical variables where needed, enabling more proactive, preventative actions. It also provides the ability to explore alternative control scenarios using real-time data acquisition and analysis to address flooding or overflows.

Southern Water in Portsmouth, United Kingdom is using time series data to iterate radar telemetry with rain gauges, water levels and pump options to better manage a dense, steep urban catchment that is prone to flooding. Capacities are reflected in reality within the boundary conditions. That data is run through an InfoWorks ICM simulation and then sent to a pump station with emails and visual warnings.

One of the other advantages of InfoWorks ICM is its fast simulation capabilities. VinZero U.S.CAD did some benchmark testing. In terms of 2D simulations, VinZero U.S. CAD performed some benchmark testing for a simple 1,000 acre simulation scenario. InfoWorks ICM was more than twice as fast as the next best solution, the XPSWMM GPU and many times faster than other available options. Further, the study found that the proprietary computation engine provides inherently more stable solutions and better connections to terrain elements. Using GPUs can speed up simulations 12 times or more with large models.

InfoWorks ICM is ideal for modeling improvements, assessing changing operations such as modified pumps, quantifying SSO/CSO volumes in 1D or 1D/2D to ensure compliance and water quality and green infrastructure modeling.

For more insight into Autodesk InfoWorks ICM and real-world applications, listen in to the InfoWorks ICM for Sewer and Stormwater Hydraulic Modeling for Consent Decrees webinar by Ryan Brown, PE, Technical Solutions Engineer from Autodesk.

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