Marseille deploys smart sensors to detect drains blocked by rubbish

Marseille Metropole sanitation department (Seramm) plans to connect 5,000 drains on the Marseille sewerage network to remotely monitor their status and feed back in real-time.

Although drains are designed to collect rainwater, they also collect waste abandoned in the streets, which causes operational problems and pollution. Drains clogged by waste can no longer fulfill their primary purpose, and there is also an ecological impact as waste accumulated in the drains transfer into the natural environment during rainfall.

Network solution

To help Seramm’s operators address these issues, eco-start-up GreenCityZen has teamed with IoT service provider Sigfox to deploy its OG network solution which feeds back data in real time to the start-up’s HummBox monitoring platform.

Self-powered sensors connect directly to the internet via the Sigfox network, and each drain is fully described in the application, including size, shape, brand, images, instrumentation status, filling rate and cleaning status.

Before this collaboration began, the City of Marseille reports that it carried out 50,000 inspection visits per year, only to clean half of the drains, while others lay empty.

According to GreenCityZen, detection of waste levels via its app effectively ‘decarbonises’ the operation and cleaning of storm drains, as it is no longer necessary to travel to check if they are full.

Deploying IoT has provided better data on the drains across the city and therefore immediate visibility of the assets requiring maintenance, as well as a better insight into the type of maintenance required without needing an initial site visit. In addition, the data collected presents useful statistics to the sanitation department and ultimately improves its performance.

“The IoT, the latest technology in the digital transformation of our economies, has had a considerable impact,” said Alexandre Boudonne, director of operations at GreenCityZen.

“At GreenCityZen we see it as an opportunity for the environment and, with the support of Sigfox, we have been able to implement new use cases to improve the performance of the Seramm while helping to preserve our planet.”

By September 2021, in Marseille, 2,000 drains were already equipped with the HummBox solution and connected to the Sigfox network. Another 3,000 should follow by 2022.

GreenCityZen, an environmental IoT and AI (artificial intelligence) eco-startup was founded in 2015 and provides solutions to drive sustainable water resource management.



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