A drone aircraft has been used at Gippsland Water’s Dutson Downs facility to take aerial photography of the Soil and Organic Recycling Facility (SORF) to measure the green waste stockpiles and capture new images of the facility.

SORF Manager Mark Heffernan said by using the drone Gippsland Water was able to save a considerable amount of money compared to the alternative, sending up a piloted plane, a costly and time-consuming exercise.

The compost rows are part of the innovative process of turning garden waste such as grass clippings and bio-solids from the wastewater treatment process into the Revive Recycled Compost for use in local agriculture. Gippsland Water and Gibsons Groundspread are industry leaders in this cutting-edge production.

“Given we have a large area of green waste storage and up to 12,000 tonnes of compost in more than fifty up to 200 metre-long windrows on the ground at any one time, being able to assess its volume and layout accurately is a great benefit to us,” Mark said. “We now have very detailed aerial photography that we can use for planning and analysis purposes.”

“The drone itself isn’t controlled from the ground but rather has a flight plan programmed prior to flight and uploaded to the drone. Due to the ease of use and the ability to repeat flight, we can now see further uses such as environmental monitoring and 3D modelling capabilities to measure volumes.”

Michelle Goldsmith

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