Russians Used GPS to Hack the Sewer System

According to the St. Petersburg Times, a group of residents were disturbed by foul smells.  These folks decided to take action.  In brief, these Russians used GPS to hack the sewer system.

The news portal “Nevskie Novosti” ( has been covering a story about how residents of the housing complex “Novoe Devyatkino” have flushed waterproof GPS trackers down their toilets in a bid to highlight deficiencies in the treatment of sewage and the dangerously polluted local ecology. Over the course of ten days the route of the devices was tracked via the local Kapralev stream into the Neva, past the beach of the Peter and Paul fortress, and into the Finnish Gulf. The unhindered voyage of the waste demonstrates the absence of a system of filtration, the article suggests.

Although the local Vsevolozhsky district authorities have yet to comment on this matter, the site reported that they have promised the residents of nearby Sverdlov to investigate the unregulated dumping of domestic waste from the city in local quarries, which has turned the local creek into a “fetid stream”.

Of course if the devices had gone into an actual sewage processing system they never would have made it into the ocean.  Admittedly, this story sounds fishy (sorry).  But according to the story reported on PRI’s “The World” experts have so far confirmed what happened.

GPS routes

GPS routes

More from the original source (search and use Google translate, which I blame for all errors):

However, residents of New Devyatkino really stirred the public for his extravagant and ingenious experiment: They went down the toilet GPS-trackers, previously “wearing” them in a protective shell. Acquainted with the experimental results can be anyone – it is beautifully illustrated interactive maps showing location beacons. Seven of the sixteen devices safely reached the Gulf of Finland (four of them swam even for a dam), others seem to confidently move in his direction Kapralevu creek, Okhta and Neva, not meeting on the way even filters. It is not hard to guess that the same route have other objects and substances that people of New Devyatkino washed down the drain.

Click here for a link to the translated article.  And click here for what follows.

For this purpose, were purchased compact GPS-trackers domestic GLONASS, which were isolated as a precaution against water environments. Route few tens GLONASS trackers, lowered into the sewer tower blocks, was recorded and compared with the map of the area – experimental trackers made their way to the Gulf of Finland through corporals creek, along the Neva River and of Peter and Paul near the beach. The fact that the unit sailed to the Gulf for ten days, proves that in the sewer system of “New Devyatkino” not even a filtration system waste.


About Tony Lima

Tony Lima has been working with technology, economic modeling, forecasting, and market research for 40 years. His background makes him uniquely qualified to navigate this varied landscape. Begin with his education: B.S. in chemical engineering from M.I.T. , M.B.A. from Harvard, Ph.D. in economics from Stanford. His day job was professor of economics at California State University, East Bay. He retired in 2016 to devote his time to consulting and writing. But he has found time to: write (eight books and over 100 articles ranging from wine economics to detailed analyses of meta-language code generators) consult with companies ranging from Microsoft to CEDEX keep his expertise up-to-date, constantly reading and sorting through the avalanche of information available daily maintain three blogs: Wine Research, Wine Economics, and Economic Policy Local policy analysis: Los Altos

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