project leader
Leif P
Division ave and Kent ave
City-wide (Neighborhoods draining to tier 1 CSOs)
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the project

DontFlushMe was created to allow NYC residents to help reduce the amount of pollution in the harbor. Some 27 billion gallons of raw sewage is dumped into the harbor every year. This is the largest source of water pollution in New York. This comes from Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) that open when the sewer system is overloaded. The idea is to enable residents to understand when the overflows happen and reduce their wastewater production before and during an overflow event.    Custom sensors will be created and placed in key CSO locations throughout the city. The information collected will be available via a wide ranging alert network.   Participants will be able to receive text message alerts to their cell phone, view alerts on a website and via twitter, as well as calling a local phone number for realtime updates.    An internet connected lightbulb has also been developed in conjunction with this project. This provides colored light based on the sewer level and can be used in any standard light fixture.

the steps

Build and install the sensors in critical locations through New York. The initial prototype sensor is already in the works. Once the design is finalized construction of the other sensors will follow. Working with a group of “Urban Explorers” these sensors will be installed in critical locations throughout New York.   Together with developing and installing the sensors, the alert system needs to be finalized. In order for DontFlushMe to connect people to where their wastewater goes in the city they need to know when the sewer is operating normally and when its not.    Prototype sensor installed the week of June 13th.   Alert system development will then follow and should take two weeks   Construction of the ambient light devices, “bulbuino” will take an additional two weeks.   As funding becomes available addition sensors will be built and installed. Each sensor module will need some customization for its location

why we're doing it

The number one source of water pollution in the New York harbor comes for wastewater discharge. This project allows people in the city to become aware of the nature of the wastewater infrastructure and make informed changes in their water use behaviors. 


Check out the BBC coverage of DontFlushMe...
hey, i'm interested in your project and am trying to do something on the same waterway (Wallabout Channel) that will ultimately address the same CSO that you seem to be focusing on. maybe we should collaborate? Here's my ioby pitch: and here's my email: --rob buchanan
Philadelphia water department has developed a web based tool that does pretty much the same thing: Up and running for two years now. King County also has a web based CSO overflow prediction program.


Each sensor costs about $200 to produce. This includes all the electronics and a nice pelican case! It also costs about $40 a month per sensor to keep things running. This is $20 a month for cellphone service and $20 dollars for batteries. The system that collects all the data costs $12 a month The lightbulb “bulbuino” visualization device costs about $50 to produce. Each location or building requires a special wireless router which cost $100-$200 depending on the model I’m hoping to be able to install a sensor in all 15 of the tier 1 CSOs. These locations create over 50 percent of the 27 billion gallons of overflow each year!! A donation of $350 or more will cover the cost of one sensor and a complete “bulbuino” setup! project total = $3000 ioby fee = $240


Sorry, but this project doesn't have any updates yet.


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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