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Utility embarks on smart sewer trial

An Australian water utility has outlined a AU$5 million trial of advanced smart sewer technology in two locations.

SA Water announced it will trial the technology in Gawler, north of Adelaide, and Stonyfell, in the Adelaide foothills.

The trials aim to reduce the incidence and impact of sewerage network faults the utility’s customers and the wider community.

Gases from Gawler’s sewerage network will be monitored by 88 new odour detection sensors and 10 weather stations, to build a better understanding of odour behaviour and movement, and improve proactive management of the issue over time.

Gawler was chosen for the trial because detectable levels of odours have been consistently above average in some areas of the town.

SA Water Senior Manager of Asset Management Peter Seltsikas said it’s normal and, in some cases, necessary to have some odour emission, but the aim is to limit how noticeable it is for nearby residents.

“Vent stacks deliberately draw in fresh air or release small amounts of foul air, which helps to extend the life of the pipes, but for the most part, these smells shouldn’t be detectable by people in the area,” he said.

“The underground sensors particularly – which can be remotely monitored – will become our eyes and ears.

“The weather stations will monitor climatic conditions like wind direction and air temperature, which can impact the way odours move and are experienced outside our network.

“Weather is usually the reason sewer odour is so intermittent, but if we can learn what it’s doing in near-real time, we could for example, time our network ventilation for when the community will be least impacted.”

In Stonyfell flow and level sensors will be monitor the movement of sewage, to help detect pipe blockages and prevent overflows.

“As this is the first time we’ll be trialling the equipment, right now it’s all about increasing our knowledge of the network,” said Mr Seltsikas.

“We will then look at how we can use this information to make operational changes which benefit our customers.”

The trials are in addition to SA Water’s expansion of its smart water network to four new locations across the state – Athelstone, North Adelaide, Penneshaw and Port Lincoln – after a trial in the Adelaide CBD prevented 29 water main breaks since going live in July 2017.

“The success of the technology to date in the water space gives us confidence in achieving meaningful results in our wastewater operations,” said Mr Seltsikas.

“The combination of technology across both our water and wastewater networks, a world-leading analytics platform and the expertise of our smart network team will give us a more detailed view of our underground systems than ever before, and help us continually improve our customers’ experience.”

SA Water is investing approximately AU$9 million across the roll-out of its expanded smart water and wastewater networks.

Installation of all equipment is underway and planned to be transmitting near real-time information back to SA Water’s Operations Control Centre before the end of the year, with the full benefits expected to be realised by mid-2019.

For more information visit the SA Water website.

If you have news you would like featured in Trenchless Australasia contact Assistant Editor Chloe Jenkins at cjenkins@gs-press.com.au

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