Indiana company uses wireless technology to combat CSOs
EmNet LLC, a startup designer of wastewater control systems, has completed a pilot project in South Bend that could save municipalities millions in infrastructure improvement costs and prevent combined sewer overflows. The company has developed a wireless technology that acts as a traffic signal to electronically direct and control the flow of wastewater through underground pipes and retention ponds linked to a municipality's existing sewage and storm water infrastructure...
SOUTH BEND, IN, June 4, 2008 -- EmNet LLC, a startup designer of wastewater control systems, announced it has completed a pilot project here that could save municipalities around the world millions in infrastructure improvement costs and prevent combined sewer overflows.
The company, which received a more than $1 million grant from Indiana's 21st Century Research and Technology Fund in 2007, has developed a wireless technology that acts as a traffic signal to electronically direct and control the flow of wastewater through underground pipes and retention ponds linked to a municipality's existing sewage and storm water infrastructure.
The system is currently being field tested in South Bend, Ind., a city of 100,000 located 100 miles east of Chicago.
"EmNet's technology demonstrates real innovation in addressing the costs of storm water overflows. The work of EmNet and the commercialization of their technology is right in line with the expected outcomes of 21st Century Fund investments," said Nathan Feltman, Secretary of Commerce and chief executive officer of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
Formed in May 2004 as a merger between the technologies of scientists and engineers at the University of Notre Dame and Purdue University, EmNet began testing its technology throughout South Bend's wastewater network in September of 2005. Currently, more than 100 of EmNet's monitors are in use throughout the city, giving South Bend the largest permanently installed industrial wireless sensor network in the world.
"The 21 Fund support was critical in developing EmNet's technology from the academic theoretical arena into a viable product," said Luis Montestruque, chief executive of EmNet." This is a good example of technology that can only be developed through the convergence of academia, government and private industry."
EmNet's patented decentralized control system regulates water flow during times of intense rain and prevents dry weather overflows, maximizing the use of existing infrastructure and use of the wastewater treatment facility, Montestruque said. Commercialization of EmNet's technology is estimated to create more than 125 jobs.
Montestruque estimates that deploying the EmNet technology in its entirety throughout South Bend's storm water and wastewater systems could save the city up to $150 million over the next 15 years. Further, he estimates that the market for EmNet technology will grow as more than 700 other cities face Environmental Protection Agency mandates on combined sewer overflows, which could cost municipalities billions of dollars in infrastructure improvements.
"Local imagination and creativity are solving one of the most expensive environmental challenges facing our city and nation," said South Bend Mayor Stephen J. Luecke. "We appreciate the many partners, and the support from state and federal sources that are helping the City of South Bend become the world's first city to implement a high-tech solution to combined sewer overflows on this scale."
EmNet is one of 54 businesses awarded a 21st Century Fund grant since Jan. 2006. During that time, the fund has invested more than $68 million in high-tech Indiana entrepreneurial companies with the potential to create more than 6,000 new jobs.
EmNet, LLC specializes in the design, implementation and operation of real time control systems for telemetry and control of Combined Sewer Overflows.
Established under Governor Mitch Daniels in 2005 to replace the former Department of Commerce, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation is governed by a 12-member board chaired by Governor Daniels. Indiana Secretary of Commerce Nathan Feltman serves as the chief executive officer of the IEDC. Since the creation of the IEDC, the state has posted three consecutive years of record-breaking commitments for new jobs.