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Preventing Leaks

Water leaks… burst pipes… they can be an expensive problem for homeowners and municipalities alike. But researchers at Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University are helping the city of Lakewood stop leaks before they happen.

The project is part of the Internet of Things Collaborative (IoTC) formed by CSU and CWRU in 2017 with generous support from the Cleveland Foundation. The collaboration seeks to enhance research, education and technology transfer related to the Internet of Things, while also positioning Cleveland as a leader in digital innovation.

The IoTC Lakewood Sensor Demo Project uses sensor technology to provide near real-time data on road quality in that city.

During phase one, a sensor was placed on the front bumper of a city truck to assess the surface quality of roads. As the truck traveled the city over a three-month period, the sensor provided data on the location and severity of bumps.

For phase two, which began in April and continues through June, a ground penetrating radar sensor was placed on the truck. This technology looks at underground road conditions, providing a visual report of what’s happening below the surface.

Combined, phases one and two should help Lakewood officials identify potential water leaks before pipes burst, as well as roads that are about to crumble. The data will also identify the location of utility and sewer lines, giving the city a current underground map.

Researchers hope the project will eventually expand to include additional sensors on vehicles.

“We know that water leaks. This technology can help determine where, when and how much, helping cities like Lakewood better schedule maintenance work and keeping costs down,” says Nicholas Zingale, associate professor of public administration.

In addition to Dr. Zingale, CSU faculty participating in the Lakewood water project are Thomas Hilde, assistant professor of urban studies; Ben Ward, director of research and proposal development; and Nigamanth Sridhar, professor of electrical engineering and computer science and dean of the College of Graduate Studies. Four CWRU faculty are involved, as are several graduate students from both universities.

The Lakewood test project is one of three IoTC projects now underway that are using technology to improve city or community services. And recently, a new project was announced that builds on the sensor monitoring system used in Lakewood.

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority awarded CSU a $500,000 grant to enhance environmental quality and efficiency in public transit. The project seeks to develop and evaluate on-vehicle sensor systems focused primarily on rail maintenance and bus emissions. These systems will be capable of transmitting, archiving and interpreting data in addition to providing information for monitoring on-time performance and passenger wait times for RTA vehicles.

“The IoT has created a fertile ground for innovative thinking. Projects like those in Lakewood and with RTA will help position CSU as a significant player in this area’s digital future,” says Dr. Zingale.

This year,

Northeast Ohio marks the 50th anniversary of the Cuyahoga River igniting.

Cleveland State, with its prime location near the river and Lake Erie, is joining in the celebration.

Through research, conservation and other means, CSU faculty, staff, students and alumni are focusing their energies on this most precious natural resource.

Also in this Issue...

A Crooked River Conversation

Peter Bode speaks for the river. And Lake Erie. And 3.4 million people living in and around the Cuyahoga. Most of whom remember, heard about, or experienced the oozy, sludgy mess that was. A fish graveyard in a river so toxic you ran to the ER if you fell in. Read more >>

When Environmental Laws Conflict

To protect the interests of residents, businesses and the environment, should the requirements of a local environmental ordinance take precedence over state laws supporting natural resources business development? Read more >>

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