Placing sensors in sewer networks: A system to pinpoint new cases of coronavirus
Author(s)Nourinejad, Mehdi; Berman, Oded; Larson, Richard Charles
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We consider a proposed system that would place sensors in a number of wastewater manholes in a community in order to detect genetic remnants of SARS-Cov-2 found in the excreted stool of infected persons. These sensors would continually monitor the manhole’s wastewater, and whenever virus remnants are detected, transmit an alert signal. In a recent paper, we described two new algorithms, each sequentially opening and testing successive manholes for genetic remnants, each algorithm homing in on a neighborhood where the infected person or persons are located. This paper extends that work in six important ways: (1) we introduce the concept of in-manhole sensors, as these sensors will reduce the number of manholes requiring on-site testing; (2) we present a realistic tree network depicting the topology of the sewer pipeline network; (3) for simulations, we present a method to create random tree networks exhibiting key attributes of a given community; (4) using the simulations, we empirically demonstrate that the mean and median number of manholes to be opened in a search follows a well-known logarithmic function; (5) we develop procedures for determining the number of sensors to deploy; (6) we formulate the sensor location problem as an integer nonlinear optimization and develop heuristics to solve it. Our sensor-manhole system, to be implemented, would require at least three additional steps in R&D: (a) an accurate, inexpensive and fast SARS-Cov-2 genetic-remnants test that can be done at the manhole; (b) design, test and manufacture of the sensors; (c) in-the-field testing and fine tuning of an implemented system.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Nourinejad, Mehdi et al. "Placing sensors in sewer networks: A system to pinpoint new cases of coronavirus." PLoS ONE 16, 4 (April 2021): e0248893. © 2021 Nourinejad et al
Final published version