Sponsored data correlation and prediction project with Northumbrian Water – Get involved

#Hack Series 2015-2016 Event 4:

Predicting pollution incidents

Pollution incidents occur - they are a fact of life.  But what if we could predict these?  The impact could be significant to both the environment, and communities but to individuals affected.

At Northumbrian Water we have one of the best reputations in the UK for responsive approach to incidents.  Our goal is to be the very best and to ensure we can reduce potential for such incidents in the future. 

Pollution incidents are very typically associated with pumping stations and systems being overwhelmed or failing.

Our infrastructure is extensive and we have substantial data on how incidents occur, and maintenance and operations in high risk areas.  The data available includes pump maintenance, operations, incidents information, as well as asset management information.

The key question for us is can we identify correlations that predict pollution incidents by combining this data with environmental, social and economic information.  Can we reduce the impact of systems being overwhelmed or failing on communities and households?

Northumbrian Water are currently seeking to evidence the potential of investing in a new customer facing insight tools. We are organising an exciting 2-day initiative to bring together data analysts and expression specialists, software developers, specifically to consider if correlations can be found and predictive models established.

We are prepared to invest in 5 companies from anywhere in the UK to participating and competing and develop useful solutions.

Participants will compete to see who can build the best and most impactful data insights supporting including data expression, mashup or visualization relating to our challenge.  As well as receiving a contribution of £1200 for their time they will also have access to £750 in awards.

The event will span two days and take the form of a contest. North East based participants will compete to see who can build the best and most impactful data insights supporting including data expression, mashup or visualization relating to our challenge.

Our goal is to invest in and deploy a new incident predictive model and we are using this event to identify relevant skills and potential commercial suppliers based in the UK. The output of these events often include contract opportunities for successful participants. Open to all interested parties, this event is funded directly by Northumbrian Water and supported by The Core, Newcastle university. 


Why participate?

Engage with one of the largest organisations in the North - NWL have an £800m turnover and invest heavily in regional skills, expertise and innovation. We are actively seeking enterprising organizations that can help us resolve complex problems.

Collaborate with other disciplines and organisations - Hackathons are a great way to meet and work with a wider range of stakeholders. Present will be professional application developers, business leaders, academics and researchers as well as other groups.

Help to solve a scale real world challenges - We are working to ensure our future services are safe, secure and offer best value to the public. Your involvement not only supports your local community but potentially could establish data innovations that have application across the utility or infrastructure management space.

Financial contribution towards the cost of your time – We are offering five companies the opportunity to receive £1200 towards the cost of their time. The contribution is supported by NWL as we seek to work with a successful concept and develop a commercially useable system application.  Our goal is to help underwrite the costs of teams seeking to join the NWL supplier community. Companies will be selected by the Hack judge panel based on relevant skills and backgrounds.


The Challenge

This initiative reflects our passion to be the very best water utility in the UK. The public sector is under intense pressure to reduce costs and improve services. Our goal is to minimise pollution incidents by establishing a practical predictive model and applying this to our infrastructure management and systems.

This may include decision making tools for pump station management or field resource deployment, better procurement due to asset insight or enhanced maintenance planning.

We want you to help us define and demonstrate the potential impact a predictive model could make if we were to invest.

The resulting models and tools will belong to you. We may well wish to invest with you in developing some of these for application with our customers and are ensuring a process is in place to take selected ideas forward.



Develop your project at the CORE, submit project through Devpost, and participate in the Sunday pitching and judging. In order to be eligible for prizes, you must submit through Devpost and participate in judging on Sunday (If you are an 'inperson' event participant)!

Participants: Individuals (over 18 years in age); Teams; Organizations (up to 100 employees)

Countries: United Kingdom


Usefulness in predicting pollution incidents
How does report concept support effectively support practical prediction of pump  station and or system failure due to environmental, operational, and socio-economic factors.

  • Practicality in application
    How useful is the prediction model in its intended real world situation.
  • Completion of evidence solution
    How complete or polished the model is.
  • Presentation 
    How polished and impressive is the presentation of the model.
  • Data expression and usability
    How well-designed is the model, paying attention to user experience and user interface

Hackathon Sponsors


£7,000 in prizes

First prize

Second prize (2)

Sponsored participation (5)

Five applicant will receive funding in support of participation. The NWL team will select participants based on experience and expertise.

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:

How to enter

How will it work?

If you are interested in participating, simply ENTER HERE

If you have any questions please contact Paul Sutherland, Innovation project manager, (T:07738 284 310) or email paul.sutherland@nwl.co.uk

The study will run across two days from the 6-7th August and will be led by Sunderland Software City and the business intelligence team at NWL, along with a number of postgraduate volunteers with an interest in big data, data analytics and data exploration and expression.

Aspects of the data will be closed and others open. Those close will be in-person and data will only be released onsite.

Technical details and open data will be available via our hackathon site www.pumped.devpost.com

The event will be hosted at the CORE, Science central in Newcastle upon Tyne, and will support distributed work and support from a wider community including Newcastle University. Participants will be invited to join the space and work in a secure way on the data.

Further NWL systems and BI specialists will be on hand during the data hack to assist with questions arising during the experiment.

Needless to say on signing up and undertaking confidentiality terms, a document outlining the detailed challenge and the rules of the competition in more detail will be released.

Prizes and Judging:

  • First prize: £500
  • Second prize: £250
  • Judges and criteria will be announced on DEVPOST.


Alastair Tawn

Alastair Tawn
Northumbrian Water

Steven Caughey

Steven Caughey
The Core

Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland
+ADD Strategy

Judging Criteria

  • Usefulness
    Usefulness in predicting pollution incidents
  • Integration
    Smart approaches to integrating available data from local authority, utility and other sources
  • Impact
    Beyond operational benefits, the potential to help reduce the frequency of pollution incidents
  • Practical application
    Consideration given to data expression and predictive model system/ operational integration

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

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