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New monitoring technology trialed for asset health

Melbourne Water has begun trialing next-generation monitoring technology, which utilises radar, cameras, sensors and laser technologies to measure concrete pipe wall thickness and surrounding environmental conditions.

Melbourne Water Asset Management Services General Manager Gerald FitzGibbon said corrosion caused by hydrogen sulphide attacks has proven to be a challenge for the industry due to its impact on asset operation.

“Melbourne Water currently uses CCTV technology to help us manage the hundreds of kilometres of sewerage mains that service the community across the city. This has served us well for many years in terms of understanding the condition of the surface inside these large diameter pipes by using remotely operated video,” he said.

“However, hydrogen sulphide corrosion impacts the thickness of the pipe wall and the current CCTV technology does not have the capability to measure this thickness in order to help us predict when an asset might fail.

“As a result, we have been looking at innovative new ways to monitor these assets so we can more accurately schedule maintenance work to improve service reliability and safety for our customers.”

Some of Victoria’s sewer network is set to be inspected by a new monitoring technology with the aim of assessing maintenance requirements to increase asset lifespan.

“The device can relay important information about pipe thickness, the location of steel reinforcements, internal pipe diameter, pH, temperature and humidity back to our asset management staff,” FitzGibbon said.

“This cutting edge technology will help us go from reactively fixing problems once they appear to being able to predict potential failures and schedule maintenance work before they occur.

“This is expected to help us to minimise disruption to the community and provide a better level of service at a reduced cost by fixing potential problems before they impact on customers.”

Furthermore, FitzGibbon said the new technology will enable personnel to better predict asset life for more efficient planning of future expenditure.

“The device will allow our asset engineers to more accurately predict the remaining service life of our assets and design rehabilitation works to extend it,” he said.

“Better information will help us improve our decision making about where and when we undertake works so Melbourne’s sewerage system can continue to provide its crucial service to the community.”

FitzGibbon said it’s hoped the technology will also bolster efforts to create safer and more robust communities.

“We hope this technology will result in increased safety and better outcomes for the community by changing the way we go about monitoring the condition of our assets,” he said.

Melbourne Water is currently seeking expressions of interest for project partners.

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