A robust and accurate surrogate method for monitoring the frequency and duration of combined sewer overflows

Thomas Hofer*, Albert Montserrat, Guenter Gruber, Valentin Gamerith, Lluis Corominas, Dirk Muschalla

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Discharges of untreated wastewater from combined sewer overflows (CSOs) can affect hydraulic stress and have significant environmental impacts on receiving water bodies. Common flow rate and water level sensors for monitoring of CSO events are expensive in terms of investment costs, installation, operation and maintenance. This paper presents a novel surrogate method to detect CSO events by using two low-cost temperature sensors. The novelty is the experimental setup for installation of temperature sensors in CSO structures and an algorithm developed to automatically calculate the duration of CSO events considering the response time of the system. The occurrence and duration of CSO events is computed based on the convergence of the two temperature signals. The method was tested under field conditions in a CSO structure, and the results were compared to the information gathered from a parallel installed flow sensor. The application of two temperature sensors installed inside a CSO structure was proven to be robust and accurate for the automatic detection of the occurrence and duration of CSO events. Within the 7-month test phase, 100% of the 20 CSO events could be detected without false detections. The accuracy of detecting the start and end of the CSO events was 2 min in comparison to the flow sensor.

Original languageEnglish
Article number209
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Combined sewer overflow
  • Event detection
  • Low-cost
  • Monitoring
  • Surrogate measurement
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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