Home » Water & Wastewater » Case Studies » CITY OF SOUTH BEND - INDIANA, USA

Case Study


In order to better understand the realities of their overflow problems and, ultimately, help the city avoid flooding, the city of South Bend, Indiana engaged Xylem in utilizing BLU-X, a real-time decision support system consisting of smart sensors and actuators that track conveyance capacity.

The Saint Joseph River has long shaped South Bend’s economy, especially during the mid-20th century, when the river was the conduit to heavy industrial development such as Studebaker and the Singer Sewing Company. To reduce the 1-2 billion gallons of polluted water dumped in the Saint Joseph River annually, and the huge environmental, social, and economic costs associated with the ongoing issue, the City embraced a way to harness intelligent watershed technology to optimize its existing sewer system, without the need to build costly new grey infrastructure.


Prior to 2008, virtually every time it rained heavily, the City of South Bend faced sewer overflows into the landmark Saint Joseph River because the City`s aging sewer system could not handle the excess discharge, an average of some 1-2 billion gallons annually. In 2011, the City — under the leadership of Public Works Director Eric Horvath — entered into a consent decree, agreeing to a long-term control plan (LTCP) of their sewer overflow estimated at more than $860 million. For South Bend, with a population of just over 100,000, this equated to a burden of nearly $10,000 per citizen, which is economically unfeasible given that the average annual household income is around $32,000.

What solutions did Xylem and South Bend come up with to solve this challenge? Find out and explore the results we achieved together by downloading the full case study below.

Project Highlights

Estimated $500 million in capital work savings

$1.5 million per year in operations and maintenance cost-savings

Over 70% reduction in combined sewer overflow volumes (roughly 1 billion gallons per year)

All sensor data presented on one unified platform, and integrated into South Bend’s existing IT networks

Services Provided

• BLU-X real-time decision support system (RT-DSS) for optimizing sewer infrastructure
• 165 networked sensors and software agents optimally operating 13 gates and valves city-wide
• All sensor data presented on one unified platform
• Integration into South Bend’s existing IT networks
• Real-time alert system to identify grit, FOG, sewer collapse & blockages