Central Highlands Water in Victoria and La Trobe University are undertaking trials of the new SAPP2R (Sewer Access Point Penetration Review) Robot to assess the condition of sewer assets.

Central Highlands Water’s Managing Director, Paul O’Donohue, said the primary components of any asset management program includes the identification, location and condition of assets.

“The SAPP2R team from La Trobe University Engineering have designed a robot which can be lowered into a manhole to assess the condition of the concrete in the manhole by measuring the forces required for its probe to penetrate the concrete,” Mr O’Donohue said.

“Condition assessment provides the critical information needed to assess the physical condition and functionality of a wastewater collection system, the ability to estimate remaining service life and asset value, as well as prioritise remedial works and using robotic data is significant for the water industry.

“With safety being our number one priority for our employees and the community, the SAPP2R robot also minimises safety risks through factors such as confined space entry.”

SAPP2R uses a probe to sense how soft the concrete is and collects three pieces of data: depth of penetration, force exerted and effective diameter of manhole.

Hydrogen sulphide is produced in sewers from the breakdown of organic matter in the sewage. This gas leads to degradation of sewers over time and can impact the structural integrity of manholes and mains.

The robot is controlled via a mobile phone used by an operator above the ground, which connects to SAPP2R via a Wi-Fi module.

The robot facilitates rapid, safe and repeatable analysis of Sewer Access Point (SAP) condition, while operators can understand asset integrity and prioritise work as well as isolate problems.

Before joining the Utility team, Eliza worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years. Eliza has the rare talent of being able to find the nuggets of gold in otherwise average source material, and like any self-respecting member of gen-Y is a whiz when it comes to social media marketing and management.

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