Costa Mesa Sanitary District Receives Innovation Award

September 28, 2021 

CONTACT: Noelani Middenway, District Clerk & Public Information Officer
TELEPHONE: (949) 645-8400 ext. 227


(Costa Mesa – CA) The accolades continue to roll in for the Costa Mesa Sanitary District (CMSD) and its Artificial Intelligence Sewer Manhole Detection Program.

Fresh off the heels of winning the 2021 Innovative Project of the Year award from the California Special Districts Association (CSDA), CMSD’s groundbreaking program is receiving the 2021 Technology Innovation Award from AT&T and Government Technology magazine. The agency will be recognized at the 2021 Year in Review & Recognition Summit on November 3.

The innovative project utilizes artificial intelligence to detect the current condition of manhole covers, using a GoPro camera attached to a District vehicle that records each manhole cover in streets throughout CMSD’s service area. Once the covers are recorded, the artificial intelligence manhole detection model rates their condition on a scale of 1 to 5, with the highest score meaning a manhole cover requires immediate repair. The program is saving the District more than $40,000 per year by avoiding physical inspection and, more importantly, it has greatly improved the safety of District employees by avoiding potential injuries from fast-moving vehicles.  

Government Technology, an AT&T funded program, is designed for special district leaders across the United States to connect, share and learn from one another regarding innovations and technology that improves and/or enhances service levels. The 2021 Year in Review and Recognition Summit is a unique opportunity to hear from district leaders nationwide about new technologies that are addressing evolving demands and operational challenges. 


About CMSD: Formed in 1944, CMSD is an independent special district that provides solid waste and wastewater collection services to a population of approximately 116,700 in Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, and unincorporated Orange County. For more information and the latest CMSD news, visit and follow CMSD on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To get in touch with CMSD staff, email or call (949) 645- 8400.