Estimation of combined sewer overflow discharge: a software sensor approach based on local water level measurements

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Combined sewer overflow (CSO) structures are constructed to effectively discharge excess water during heavy rainfall, to protect the urban drainage system from hydraulic overload. Consequently, most CSO structures are not constructed according to basic hydraulic principles for ideal measurement weirs. It can, therefore, be a challenge to quantify the discharges from CSOs. Quantification of CSO discharges are important in relation to the increased environmental awareness of the receiving water bodies. Furthermore, CSO discharge quantification is essential for closing the rainfall-runoff mass-balance in combined sewer catchments. A closed mass-balance is an advantage for calibration of all urban drainage models based on mass-balance principles. This study presents three different software sensor concepts based on local water level sensors, which can be used to estimate CSO discharge volumes from hydraulic complex CSO structures. The three concepts was tested and verified under real practical conditions. All three concepts were accurate when compared to electromagnetic flow measurements.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)2683-2696
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Combined sewer overflow (CSO)
  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
  • Discharge monitoring and quantification
  • Software sensors
  • Water level measurements


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