Icon/Status/Information

As a result of the recent high rainfalls and subsequent flooding Melbourne Water is working with emergency services and other relevant agencies to review the impacts to our waterways and assets. 

For flood or storm emergency assistance, contact the VIC SES on 132 500 and for life threatening emergencies call 000. 

You can access current emergency information by calling the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226 or sign up to receive regular updates regarding flooding via the emergency.vic.gov.au website and app.

Photogrammetry detecting changes in polymer covers

Melbourne Water and Monash University have used photogrammetry to develop a safer way to inspect floating covers over the lagoons at the Western Treatment Plant, enabling more accurate maintenance scheduling and safe operation for the longest possible period. Read this case study to learn more.

Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate action

Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Sustainable Development Goal 07: Affordable and clean energy

Sustainable Development Goal 06: Clean water and sanitation

Sustainable Development Goals:
Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy
Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
Goal 13: Climate action

Background

Floating pokymer covers at the Western Treatment Plant
The Western Treatment Plant's floating polymer covers are larger than the MCG.

Photogrammetry is the science of making measurements from photographs. These are often 2D aerial photographs, which can be used with computers to calculate actual measurements – and even to determine measurements in 3D. A 3D image generated from this process can then be 3D printed, and the printouts used as models when sharing ideas for proposed or new works with stakeholders and the community.

With this process in mind, we wanted to know if 2D aerial photographs of the floating polymer covers at the Western Treatment Plant could be used to generate a 3D shape for identifying distress ‘hot spots’ in the covers.

These 10-hectare covers collect biogas from the anaerobic digestion of wastewater. This biogas is then used to produce renewable electricity, providing almost 100 per cent of the energy requirements of the entire treatment plant.

Research focus

Photogrammetry showing areas of stress (red-yellow) in the cover
Photogrammetry showing areas of stress (red-yellow) in the cover.

Currently, field personnel at the plant need to walk over the covers to detect defects or take measurements to determine the amount of solid scum underneath them. Scum moves slowly under the covers and tear them, making inspection risky.

Working with Monash University, we have been using photogrammetry to develop a safer inspection method that will enable more accurate maintenance scheduling and ensure the covers operate safely for the longest possible period.

Outcomes

Of immediate and additional benefit to operators is that photogrammetry can be used to identify and quantify the volume of scum and biogas between the underside of the covers and the surface of the lagoons, and how and where this changes with time.

By applying ‘filters’ to the collected data, we can also monitor the occurrence of wrinkles and arrange for timely and relevant action. The results are showing that photogrammetry offers a viable alternative technique for the monitoring and assessment of the floating covers. We are continuing to work to automate as much of the process as is practicable.

Last updated:
7 November 2021