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Pitch Evaluation Criteria

Should an abstract be accepted for the pitch competition, the following factorS shall also be considered:

Submit the Challenge!

Looking forward to seeing what ideas you come up with!

Abstract Instruction

Teams will be selected to pitch based on non-proprietary abstracts of their proposed solutions.

The Challenge Scenario:

Business Model



. challenge .

problem with inflow & infiltration (I&I)

Challenge Selection Criteria:

looking for new ways to solve Inflow & Infiltration within sanitary water systems.

in partnership with:

We are looking for innovative ideas that could address this critical issue. You need not have an actual product or service to be eligible to compete in this open challenge.

Over the years, wastewater treatment plants notice high flows due to constant intense rain events, leaking pipes, and other unknown conditions. Increased water flows create significant issues in terms of operational costs and effectiveness, and permit compliance. We seek solutions to radically improve the detection of Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) into sanitary sewer systems, with the goal of better identifying opportunities for detection, quantification of flow and intervention to reduce excess water flow. Ideally submissions will address detection, quantification and remediation of Inflow & Infiltration. We will also accept submissions that solely address detection and quantification.

Minimum viable ideas for solutions should include:

•  Detection of Inflow & Infiltration occurrences throughout the entire public side of a sanitary sewer system.

•  Detection of suspect Inflow & Infiltration from individual connections coming from private property

•  Detection of individual Inflow & Infiltration occurrences with flow rates greater than 5 GPM

•  Quantification of flow rate for individual Inflow & Infiltration occurrences

***Assume 5600 miles of piping for this challenge, located in urban, suburban, rural, and national forest areas.

Submissions will be evaluated based upon the following:

1. Feasibility of the solution idea

2. How closely the solution idea meets the criteria of the challenge statement

•  Precision of identifying location

•  Speed of detection

•  Accuracy of detected flow rate

•  Level of automation

3. Ease of implementation / use

4. Reliability

5. Ease of maintenance

6. Cost effectiveness

Abstracts are due by December 4, 2020 consisting of:

•  12 Point Font no more than 11,514 characters total (3 Pages)

•  Maximum length 3 pages including text and any graphics

•  No embedded links to outside resources or references

•  Abstract should address the following:

Company/Individual Name with contact information

Approach – description of solution and how closely it will meet the technical criteria of the problem statement.

•  Precision of identifying location

•  Speed of detection

•  Accuracy of detected flow rate

•  Level of automation

•  Monitoring & Reporting

Benefits – unique benefits of this approach compared to existing solutions.


•  December 4, 2020 — Abstract Submission Deadline

•  December 18, 2020 — Announcement of Final Pitch Contestants

•  January 20, 2021 —  Virtual Pitch

Infiltration – groundwater coming into the system through leakage, and...

Inflow – additional water coming into the system through inappropriate connections, result in a significant increase in water volumes to be handled and treated. These increased volumes create a variety of negative impacts...

•  Exceeding the design capacity of waste treatment at treatment plants

•  A significant increase in the cost of treatment at treatment plants

•  Overflow of wastewater into streets, private homes, and waterways

Current approaches to Inflow & Infiltration detection and repair involve such technique as:

•  Placing monitoring devices at manholes

•  Running CCTV apparatus through piping

•  Dye testing for detection

•  Flow isolation studies

•  Replacement or repair of system components

•  Removal of inappropriate connections for inflow

Issues associated with detection and repair are:

•  Monitoring manholes can be expensive and may only isolate the issue within several hundred yards. Since sanitary system piping is typically located in the middle of streets, this necessitates significant and costly excavation and disruption.

•  CCTVs have limited effectiveness depending on the flow conditions and concentration of solids in the system.

•  Tracking down and identifying Inflow & Infiltration is labor intensive.


"The Open Challenge will facilitate a diverse set of ideas to come to the forefront for evaluation and potential implementation, thereby enriching our industry as we strive to enhance the quality of life of rate payers."
Yosef Kebede, Acting Bureau Head – Bureau of Water and Wastewater, Baltimore City Department of Public Works

"WSSC Water Innovation and Research Office’s core mission is to identify opportunities where innovation can positively impact our business challenges. The Clearwater Challenge offers an opportunity to work with external partners and test ideas to achieve solutions to the I&I problem, prevalent to all utilities in our Industry."
Keith Tyson, Director – Office of Innovation and Research, WSSC Water

"Imagine a future where utilities know – in real time – when and where excess water is entering their sanitary sewer systems. The environmental impacts and budgetary savings will be huge. Plus it is a truly global business opportunity. We are excited to work with Ferguson and its partners to find innovator and entrepreneurs who can make this "moonshot" happen."
Jerry Cronin, Executive Director, Open Seas Technology Innovation Hub, ODU Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship