British researchers have been able to use artificial intelligence (AI) to detect hundreds of untreated effluents from rivers in the United Kingdom.
Scientists, including the University of Oxford, have used AI to identify a total of 926 leaks at two water treatment plants in the United Kingdom over a 11-year period.
The researchers published their study in a professional journal Clean water, Trained to recognize computer algorithm, based on flow pattern in treatment plants, in case of leakage.
The UK Environment Agency says it has adopted the technology and is “impressed by the accuracy” of the system. “We are happy with any help in preventing pollution,” he says.
During heavy rains, water treatment plants are allowed to discharge sewage into streams or rivers because more rainwater then goes into the sewer system than it can handle. Therefore excess water in the sewer system may drain out of the sewer system a certain number of times a year.
Report under discharges
However, environmental scientists and campaigners in the UK say such untreated sewage is overflowing. Christine Colvin of the Reverse Trust Environment Organization told the BBC: “Last year we put together the first national map of sewage discharges into English rivers. I think we were all shocked at how much, how widespread, untreated sewage pollution is in our rivers.”
Andrew Singer, a professor at the UK Center for Environment and Hydrology, said the AI team set up its organization to study how much wastewater is discharged into UK rivers. “We wanted to introduce new technology that would help maintain transparency and water quality,” he said.
According to the UK Environment Agency, water treatment plants can now use the method as a “planning tool to control pollution and prevent incidents.”