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A New Jersey flow-control company believes it has a more cost-effective method for monitoring sewer infrastructure to prevent toxic water from invading nearby lakes and rivers or backing up into homes. 

The solution uses a wirelessly enabled sensor installed in the sewer that passes information back to the relevant municipal department through software analytics that provides information to them. 

Frank Sinclair, owner of Eastech Flow Controls(Upper Saddle River), states rather emphatically that “not many people are familiar with what goes on in the sewers, and when I tell people that [Eastech is] monitoring what’s going on, it’s always the same reaction: ‘What do you mean? Aren’t they doing that already?’” 

Yes, cities and municipalities do monitor their sewers, but Sinclair said they’re not doing it well enough. “There are water meters and there are gas meters and there are electric meters, and everyone assumes that [officials] also know what’s going on underground in the sewers. But how can they when there are no smart meters or sensors to provide them with the necessary information.” 

Meet the iTracker, a patented smart sensor developed by Sinclair and his Eastech team that  monitors the unwanted volumes of clean rain and ground water (called “inflow and infiltration,” or I&I) invading the wastewater that’s piped through stretches of faulty underground infrastructure.

Although Eastech’s corporate headquarters are in Upper Saddle River, Sinclair, a New Jersey resident, noted that the company’s manufacturing is done in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tulsa was the original headquarters of a flow meter company that Eastech purchased from Milwaukee-based Badger Meter. 

Eastech and Sinclair have an interesting history. Sinclair once owned Westlock Controls, a company in Saddle Brook that he eventually sold to Tyco (Milwaukee). After that, he acquired a division of Badger Meter. When he began studying the technology behind the flow meters, he realized that they were being sold to sewer systems and to wastewater collection facilities, but weren’t sufficiently detecting any problems in the underground piping. That was because 80 percent of the problems were occurring in only 20 percent of the pipes, and there was no cost-efficient way to locate that 20 percent.

“The new iTracking technology that we are presently providing to municipalities throughout North America was developed here in New Jersey, with the sales, marketing and new product design also spearheaded in New Jersey,” Sinclair said.

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