Gawler to receive advanced smart sewer technology

SA Water’s trade waste support co-ordinator Heath Georgeff and sampling monitoring co-ordinator Chris Jones on site at Gawler.
SA Water’s trade waste support co-ordinator Heath Georgeff and sampling monitoring co-ordinator Chris Jones on site at Gawler.

Gawler is one of two state locations earmarked for a new $5 million trial of advanced smart sewer technology.

The initiative, run by SA Water, aims to reduce the incidence and impact of sewerage network faults on its customers and the wider community.

Smells coming from the 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.

The focus in the township will be improving the management of odours, where detectable levels have been consistently above average in some areas of the town.

SA Water is one of the first Australian water utilities to use the technology in a comprehensive whole of suburb approach.

SA Water’s asset management senior manager 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,” Mr Seltsikas explained.

“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.”

SA Water is also piloting its smart wastewater network in Stonyfell in the Adelaide foothills, where flow and level sensors will be monitoring 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,” he said.

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