New York’s waterways are under a constant influx of raw sewage, often causing Combined Sewage Overflow or CSO. One ambitious start up, called DontFlushMe, seeks to implement a hyper intelligent CSO detection system that will notify New Yorkers when water levels are high — meaning let the yellow mellow and withhold the flush. Participants can check wastewater levels using a variety of media tools, and then take overflow prevention into their own hands.
Created by Leif Percifield, the project enables “residents to understand when the overflows happen and reduce their wastewater production before and during an overflow event.” DontFlushMe places proximity sensors, designed by Percifield, in various sewer locations around New York. When water levels rise, the sensors send a message to a networked cell phone, which then transfers the information to a database. DontFlushMe participants are then notified via text message, Twitter, on a website or by checking in on a call-in number. Percifield has also created an internet-synched light bulb which illuminates when levels are dangerous, available to participants for their home. It is then up to them to reduce their sewage output until levels decrease again.
We New Yorkers love our waterways. Our waterfronts are home to lush parks, countless fancy restaurants, and endless bars. No matter how contaminated and unswimmable the water may be, we yearn to be next to it, be it the East River or the filthiest Gowanus Canal. About 27 billion gallons of raw sewage flow into New York’s harbors each year, due to Combined Sewage Overflows. Any step for waste reduction helps drastically reduce the water’s pollution, and DontFlushMe allows New Yorkers to help control their own destinies. DontFlushMe is supported by fundraising site, ioby, a site similar to Kickstarter, but more focused on community-based green projects.