Detection of Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) in sewer networks

30/03/2022 - Enel

Gruppo CAP is looking for innovative and sustainable, efficient and effective solutions in terms of cost and large-scale replicability to search for I&I.

Expires: 24 May 2022
Reward: Collaboration and testing agreement


Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) are waters generated by unplanned point or diffuse infiltration within the sewer system, due to structural deficiencies or even interconnection with the surface water network and groundwater. Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) issue reduce the capacity of the sewerage system, generate the improper and early activation of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and reduce the efficiency of the wastewater treatment plants.

The research of the Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) with classical systems is long and expensive, it requires iterative systems for the identification of the areas affected by the problem, operating on extensions of limited size in order to intervene successfully.

Gruppo CAP is therefore looking for innovative and sustainable solutions to the problem that are efficient and effective in terms of cost and large-scale replicability to search for I&I.


Gruppo CAP is a publicly owned company that manages the Integrated Water Service in the territory of metropolitan City of Milan and in some municipalities of the nearby provinces as Monza e Brianza, Pavia, Varese and Como. It operates according to an in-house providing model, ensuring that the public control of the member bodies is in line with the principles of transparency, responsibility and participation. Thanks to its size, and an invested capital in excess of one billion euros, Gruppo CAP is one of the most important mono-utility companies in Italy, providing integrated water services to over 2.5 million inhabitants.

The Group consists of two companies CAP Holding and Amiacque. The group leader, CAP Holding, manages the network and plant assets, plans and carries out investments, exercises the functions of strategic direction and financial control, invests in knowledge and computerization. Amiacque, on the other hand, is the Group’s operating company and ensures the supply of drinking water to the citizens of the municipalities in question, providing all the services related to the collection, use, collection, purification and return of wastewater, while ensuring the protection and preservation of water resources, the local area and the environment.


This challenge is intended to identify parties to propose to CAP Group one or more effective methods to detect Inflow and Infiltration (I&I).

This challenge contributes to the achievement of the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

  • SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 14 – Life below Water
  • SDG 17 – Partnership for the Goals

[For questions about the challenge and proposed solutions, you can write to the following address:]



Gruppo CAP manages the integrated water service of the Metropolitan City of Milan, and the sewerage networks of 133 municipalities, distributed over 42 catchments.

A large part of the sewer catchments managed by Gruppo CAP are affected by the problem of Inflow and Infiltration: out of 42 catchments, 22 present the problem in a serious form over 30%, according to data from 2018). It is estimated that the problem needs to be addressed in 700km of the sewerage network (out of a total network of more than 6,000km).

I&I reduce the capacity of the sewer network, generate improper and premature activation of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and reduce the efficiency of treatment plants. They can be of a meteoric, superficial, groundwater or anthropic nature (aqueduct leaks, illegal discharges, etc.).

Gruppo CAP is currently carrying out a flow rate monitoring service over the entire area it manages. This is in order to identify and quantify the presence of I&I and distribution inside the sewerage networks and collectors owned in the assorted catchments.

The data acquired in the field are processed for the purpose of drawing up six-monthly reports, in which an estimate I&I is given at both catchment and municipal level, indicating the most critical areas.

In order to detect I&I in sewers, Gruppo CAP has already tested, with insufficient results, the following types of investigation:

  • electrical conductivity analysis by means of multiparameter probes in order to assess water quality (wastewater conductivity > 1000 µS/cm - diluted wastewater conductivity < 1000 µS/cm);

  • periscope inspections;

  • video inspections.

Moreover, for some years Gruppo CAP has been trying to follow the path of DTS fiber optic technology for the detection of I&I. This technology makes it possible to record temperature changes within the flow and from this to identify areas in the sewer that are affected by the I&i.

Such is the size of the problem that to date, it has not been possible to identify a system that allows for industrial-scale application, with costs that are acceptable and justifiable.


Gruppo CAP is looking for innovative and sustainable solutions that are efficient and effective in terms of cost and replicability on a large scale for I&I detection.

Submissions should address the following Solution Requirements.

The proposed solutions must:

  • Identify I&I in sewer systems;
  • Be easily installed, especially in locations that are hard to reach;
  • Be characterized by easy and low frequency maintenance and calibration (remote/on-site);
  • Be able to be installed both in an integrated way with plant systems and stand-alone power supply;
  • Be characterized by low costs for the complete system supply;
  • Be characterized by minimal maintenance costs;
  • Be able to share data with supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems (e.g telemetry);
  • Have technology readiness level (TRL) = 6.


The submitted proposal should contain two parts:

1. A project including:

a. A technical description of a solution (measurement system and method used) with an explanation of how the Solver proposes to address all of the Solution Requirements. The Seeker desires a solution with a minimum technology readiness level (TRL) of 6 and Solvers should provide enough information to indicate that their solution is at this level. The Solver can withhold proprietary details, if necessary, but should provide convincing evidence for the CAP Group to appreciate the merits of the approach and to allow for a feasibility evaluation. The detailed description of the solution should include, but is not limited to:

- Technical specifications of the system;

- Description of the activities required and an estimate of the cost for installation and integration;

- Any evidence for the application and existing use cases;

- Advantages and potential weaknesses of the proposed solution.

b. A brief discussion of capabilities, facilities/equipment, and relevant expertise for executing the proposed solution. The Solver should explain what they can provide and what might be required of the Seeker;

c. An overview of the proposed path forward (materials, deliverables, timelines, and cost estimates);

d. Data, patent, journal references, or any additional material that supports the proposed solution.

2. General Information about the Solver including:

a. The key contact person for this Challenge (including phone number and email address).

b. Organization/Company/University name and address (including website, if available).

[NOTE: Only proposals from Solvers who have the ability to work as a collaboration partner will be considered.]

Challenge rules

All proposers are invited to read carefully the Challenge and its Regulations, which are attached on Open Innovability® in the Attachments section, before submitting a solution.

By submitting a solution they automatically accept the attached Regulations other than the Terms of Use of Open Innovability® platform.

Explain your proposal clearly in English, attach documents (max 5 files, 25MB total size) if needed.


  • Startups and SMEs
  • Academic/Research centers
  • Individual innovators

Challenge, award, IP rights

This is an electronic request for partners Challenge; the Solver will need to submit a written proposal to be evaluated by the Seeker with a view to establishing a collaborative partnership including a pilot project.


Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (Central European Time) on May 15, 2022.

Late submissions will not be considered.

Specific regulation attached on Open Innovability®.

What happens next?

Gruppo CAP's involvement in Open Innovation aims to identify, within the global ecosystem of innovation, innovative and sustainable solutions that can solve problems or make the activities related to the management of water service in the circular economy more efficient.

Thanks to this challenge, Gruppo CAP offers the best candidates the opportunity to test technological solutions on the sewer networks of one of the 42 catchments under our management and to develop possible applications for the water sector. Gruppo CAP does not offer capital, contributions or equity investments.

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s).All Solvers who submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.

Gruppo CAP will evaluate the proposal using the following criteria:

  • Overall scientific and technical feasibility of the proposed solution;

  • Economic potential of concept (e.g. Total Cost of Ownership);

  • Business potential for Gruppo CAP;

  • Novelty and creativity;

  • Potential for proprietary position (i.e., is the technology novel or protectable?);

  • User's capabilities and related experience;

  • Realism of the proposed solution;

  • Maturity level of the proposal.

Once a suitable solution has/suitable solutions have been identified, the reward will include the opportunity to start a collaboration, by way of example, featuring all or some of the following activities:

  • Test execution;

  • Installation and site tests;

  • Follow up and monitoring of the proposed idea’s effectiveness.

Upon completion of the evaluation, you will receive feedback.

In the event of a successful application, a Gruppo CAP contact person will get in touch with you to discuss the next steps.

The final award for this Challenge is contingent upon satisfactory completion of the verification process, including acceptance of the Challenge-Specific Agreement (CSA) that is the regulation for this Challenge.

The verification process includes obtaining the following from the Solver: signed affidavit (based on the CSA), employee waiver (if applicable), and proof of identify.

Tipologia: Challenge prize


Paese: Brasile, Messico, ITALIA, Svizzera, Spagna, Australia, Norvegia, Repubblica Ceca, India, Regno Unito, Danimarca, Cina, Germania, Cile, Sudafrica, Serbia, Francia, Finlandia, Austria, Giappone, Vietnam, Federazione Russa, Paesi Bassi, Egitto, Argentina, Singapore, Malesia, Lituania, Svezia, Israele, Canada, Corea del Sud, Stati Uniti d'America, Belgio

SSD: 01 - Scienze matematiche e informatiche, 02 - Scienze fisiche, 03 - Scienze chimiche, 04 - Scienze della terra, 05 - Scienze biologiche, 06 - Scienze mediche, 07 - Scienze agrarie e veterinarie, 08 - Ingegneria civile e Architettura, 09 - Ingegneria industriale e dell'informazione, 10 - Scienze dell'antichità, filologico-letterarie e storico-artistiche, 11 - Scienze storiche, filosofiche, pedagogiche e psicologiche, 12 - Scienze giuridiche, 13 - Scienze economiche e statistiche, 14 - Scienze politiche e sociali