Partnerships Help South Bend Protect Public Health, Reduce Pollution
Jul 13, 2012
IBM announced recently that South Bend, Ind. is using its Intelligent Operations Center (IOC) for Smarter Cities software-as-a-service, to dramatically overhaul its water management system, preserving public health and saving the city hundreds of millions of dollars. South Bend is the first city in the world to manage its water systems in the cloud.
South Bend is the fourth largest city in Indiana with more than 500,000 residents. The University of Notre Dame is helping the city with research and early development of a system that helps proactively manage combined sewer monitoring and control, one of the biggest resource issues for cities around the world.
Like many municipalities, South Bend is faced with an aging sewer infrastructure and challenged with maintaining the quality of life, including safeguarding the health of its citizens and the environment. Sixty percent of water allocated for domestic human use goes to urban cities. In the U.S. alone, there are approximately 800 cities facing $65 billion in environmental infrastructure costs to solve these issues.
The IBM IOC for Smarter Cities service, in concert with locally-based business partner Emnet, has dramatically improved South Bend's ability to predict the potential overflow of hazardous wastewater, helping to protect citizens and the environment by reducing wet weather overflows by 23 percent. They have also worked to virtually eliminate dry weather wastewater overflows from 27 down to one in its first year of operation. The new system also allowed South Bend to improve storage and water conveyance performance, while avoiding $120 million in infrastructure investments and helping the city avoid more than $600,000 in potential government fines.
By delivering IOC as a service on the SmartCloud, IBM is removing the up-front cost and complexity for South Bend, which saves on IT infrastructure costs. This model allows cities such as South Bend to pay for software-as-a-service out of their operational budgets, enabling easier and faster procurement than if they were required to fund new IT infrastructure from their capital budgets. The IBM IOC for Smarter Cities service facilitates rapid on-boarding of additional city departments to share key insights to city offices, such as maintenance and emergency services to more quickly address and prevent issues such as sewer overflows, flooding and water quality.
“Anticipating and preventing incidents before they happen is key,” said Gary Gilot, member of the Board of Public Works in South Bend. “Viewing all our aggregated data in real-time via the IBM SmartCloud will help us predict where incidents can occur and safeguard our citizens. Through creative collaboration and IBM's powerful smarter city solution, we can create a smarter city and solve problems that, until now, seemed insurmountable. We have had huge measurable benefits and with IBM's continuing partnership with the city, Notre Dame and local entrepreneurs like Emnet, we will produce more.”