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South Bend Makes Harvard's Bright Ideas in Government

Monday, 07 November 2011 09:15


The City of South Bend was recognized as a Harvard University Bright Idea for its RTI/O system. The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government listed South Bend among 111 innovative government initiatives.

“The City’s CSO system combines cutting-edge technology with terrific human capital and it has allowed for national recognition,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “It has helped the City of South Bend innovate to deliver better outcomes for citizens—truly the goal of smarter cities.”

South Bend’s CSO system keeps sewage from backing up in basements during heavy rains or from overflowing combined sewage into the St. Joseph River. The system has reduced dry weather overflows by 95 percent and has the potential to reduce wet weather overflows by 23 percent per EPA SWMM model.

The City of South Bend designed CSO in order to meet federal environmental mandates on combined storm and sanitary sewer overflows. The City installed real-time monitoring and control “smart valves” technology. The program uses distributed sensing and control logic which optimizes performance of infrastructure already in place, saving the city an estimated $114 million over a conventional approach. The City is currently seeing about two-thirds of the wet weather potential benefit.

Bright Ideas are showcased on the Ash Center’s Government Innovators Network, an online platform for practitioners and policymakers to share innovative public policy solutions.