I Got a Question For You; Let Me Ask You Something: FAQs Part 1

At StormSensor, we’re doing something a bit new. Area-wide networked monitoring. Lots of sensors, lots of data, all in real time, and all over the city.

It sounds daunting, expensive, and maybe a bit luxurious for those of us used to running out to check a manhole or a vault to see what the problem is, dye tests, blocks and chalk to monitor the presence/absence of an overflow, and a whole lot of clipboards. And models. Nothing but models.

Turns out that we’re all about to experience the luxury of monitoring our storm, sanitary, and combined systems from our desks. Not just at the treatment plants or the pumps, but everywhere. And not just theoretically. It’s a beautiful thing.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions; you may be thinking the same thing! And if you’d like us to conduct a risk assessment for your community, just let me know.


1. We monitor on a temporary basis. Why would we make that permanent? It doesn’t sound very cost effective.

Systems change, seasons change, and flow changes along with it. Storm and wastewater systems—and the water that moves through them—are highly variable, and most of what happens is invisible until it goes wrong. We often manage through modeling, and ideally we’ll validate that model with a month of flow readings, checking off peak flow conditions.

However, while the models account for any number of variables, they’re still assumptions. And they can’t account for tree roots, backups, overflows, or tailwater (they really can’t; you’d be surprised).

With StormSensor, it costs the same to monitor for one month as it does for one year. You get the data every 5 minutes. You can track variability and performance given different storm events or tides or water levels. And one of our networks—fully loaded with all of the software features you could ever want—running a StormSensor for an entire year costs an average of 65% less than our competitors charge for a single month, most without 5-minute data that is also available in real time.


2. We only work in storm systems. Does StormSensor do that?

Absolutely! StormSensor was born out of stormwater consulting, and our team includes a number of civil engineers and stormwater scientists. It’s our bread and butter, and many of our alerts were developed specifically to support stormwater monitoring, including alerts for dry weather flow, stormwater flow, and critical depth.


3. We only work in sanitary systems. Does StormSensor do that?

Absolutely! StormSensor designed our sensors to be modular and work in almost any system, above- or belowground. All of the configuration happens in the software. We are working with our customers in wastewater to develop alerts specifically relating to I&I and sewer flow separations. In the meantime, all of the data are available so you can do your own analyses, or we can run targeted analyses at your request and for no additional charge. Think of it as free reporting on an ongoing basis.


4. We don’t have a lot of money, and most of our problem areas are in the low-income neighborhoods. How can we afford something like this?

While our minimum network size is set at 20 Scute™ sensors, we understand that costs can be tight, and our entire focus as a company is to make sure you have the data you need to create thriving, healthy communities. So we will absolutely work with you to find a network that fits your budget and targets your highest priorities first.


5. Can we monitor outfalls, ponds, or vaults? We don’t have a lot of pipes.

Absolutely! StormSensor’s Scute™ sensors are modular, so they can be installed in just about any configuration. In addition, may pipes surcharge, so—depending on placement—one depth sensor can monitor both the depth of water in the pipe and the depth of water in the vault or manhole. We can also set alerts for both. The same applies for outfalls, under bridges, at stormwater ponds.
Based on the information you provide, we can tie each of the sensors into a GIS network and also report in elevation, not just depth, so you can see how surface waters impact flow within your systems.

Contact us today if you are interested in learning more about our products and services.

Didn’t find your question here? Check out our FAQ Part 2 blog here.

About the author

Erin Rothman

Talk stormwater with erin@stormsensor.io With more than 15 years of environmental consulting experience, Erin observed so many opportunities for innovation in the stormwater industry. With those in mind, she founded StormSensor to enthusiastically embrace new technology to help solve the problems of an age-old industry.