To reduce flooding and improve water quality, Professor Branko Kerkez and his team are using autonomous sensors and valves to create “smart” stormwater systems. In collaboration with social scientists, engineers, and local officials and residents, Kerkez is working to discover adaptive, real-time ways to reduce flooding forecasting, and improve water quality.
School of Suitability UoM
University of Tennessee
University of Virginia
City of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, Huron River Watershed Council
Number of sensors per square mile
Number of states where harmful algae blooms are an environmental problem
Increase in the number of flash flood events that cities with combined sewers have over cities with separate sewers
Recent applications have demonstrated the potential to improve flood forecasting, enhance rainwater harvesting, and prevent combined sewer overflows.
Kerkez has founded Open-storm.org, an open source consortium dedicated to promoting education and uptake of smart water systems.
Working with social scientists, engineers, and local officials and residents from four communities, Kerkez is looking to bolster the ability to withstand and limit the damage from severe weather. Participating communities are Ann Arbor; South Bend, Indiana; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Knoxville, Tennessee. Currently, Ann Arbor is serving as an experimental "smart" watershed.
The stormwater system features between 10 and 20 sensors per square mile in its system, and testing is already underway. Sensors measure the quality of the water, as well as how much of it is flowing through the system at any given time, and other variables.
Using wireless sensors to monitor water quality and flow conditions and to control drains to Ox Creek in Benton Harbor.
Optimizing phosphorus removal at Detroit’s water treatment facility, to keep it out of lakes and rivers.
Investigating the use of cutting-edge molecular tools that characterize and optimize water quality process performance.
Improving Benton Harbor’s aging water system using risk assessment and risk analysis techniques, as well as mobile sensors.
Limiting the volume of stormwater in the Detroit system to prevent untreated sewage from being released into the Detroit and Rouge Rivers.
Using big data, data mining, and artificial intelligence to improve performance of the highly advanced Grand Rapids Water Resource Recovery Facilities.
Using remote sensing and security camera data to better understand how people are using the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy public spaces.
Application of real-time sensing and dynamic control on existing wastewater infrastructure to reduce the frequency and volume of Combined Sewer Overflows.
A grassroots train-the-trainer program on how to install, operate and maintain faucet-mounted point-of-use filters to protect for lead in drinking water.
Installing special toilets and urinals at a University of Michigan building to concentrate urine, sanitize it, and prepare it for re-use as fertilizer.
Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Branko Kerkez an assistant professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at the University of Michigan. His research interests include water, data, and sensors. He heads the Real-time Water Systems Lab, where his group is presently conducting fundamental research on “smart” water systems. Dr. Kerkez is the founder of Open-Storm.org, an open source consortium dedicated to freely sharing technologies and lessons for the sensing and control of water systems. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, all from UC Berkeley.