The United States is facing a silent and invisible crisis. Our water and sewer systems are getting dangerously old. (Most of them were put into place after World War II.) The symptoms of this old age are sewer spills and water main breaks, but since these systems are not visible—and because when you turn on the faucet or flush your toilet you received expected results—the problem of aging underground pipelines doesn’t gather much attention in the infrastructure debate. Replacement and repair of the country’s pipeline system is estimated to cost $1 trillion.
The first step in solving this crisis is knowing the extent and severity of the problem. Water levels in sewers have a signature, analogous to a human EKG. This signature can be analyzed in real time, using pattern recognition techniques, revealing distressed pipeline and allowing users of this technology to take appropriate steps for maintenance and repair—solving the big problems and saving big money.
SmartCover Systems has been providing an IoT solution to its customers for 15 years, using techniques honed in defense and remote sensing, gathering more than 200 million hours of sewer data. Greg Quist shares case studies and results from applying the IoT and AI to underground infrastructure.
Greg Quist is the cofounder, president, and CEO of SmartCover Systems, where he leads the strategic direction and operations of the company. Greg is a longtime member of the water community. He was elected to the Rincon del Diablo MWD board of directors in 1990 and for the past 27 years has served in various roles, including president and treasurer. Rincon’s Board appointed Greg to the San Diego County Water Authority Board in 1996, where he served for 12 years, leading a coalition of seven agencies to achieve more than $1M/year in water delivery savings. He is currently the chairman of the Urban Water Institute. With a background in the areas of metamaterials, numerical analysis, signal processing, pattern recognition, wireless communications, and system integration, Greg has worked as a technologist, manager, and executive at Alcoa, McDonnell-Douglas, and SAIC and has founded and successfully spun off several high-tech startups, primarily in real-time detection and water technology. He has held top-level government clearances and holds 14 patents and has several pending. Greg has an undergraduate degree in astrophysics with a minor in economics from Yale, where he played football and baseball, and a PhD in physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He currently resides in Escondido, CA. In his rare free time, he enjoys fly fishing, hiking, golf, basketball, and tennis.
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