Hundreds of previously unreported releases of raw sewage into UK rivers are detected due to AI, researchers say.
Scientists identified 926 “spill events” from two wastewater treatment plants over 11 years by employing machine learning. Experts tweet, “Software originally used to diagnose genetic disorders can detect sewage spills”.
The UK Environment Agency said it had been “impressed by the accuracy” of the approach. “We welcome any tool that forestalls pollution,” the agency said.
The researchers, who published their study within the journal Clean Water, trained a computer algorithm to recognize, through the pattern of flow through a treatment plant, when a spill was happening. Algorithms are software-based instructions for solving a problem.