Throughout the Peninsula between Rye and Portsea, South East Water’s Peninsula ECO project is connecting over 16,000 properties that currently rely on septic tanks and on-site treatment plants to an intelligent sewer network.
Its introduction will aid in the reduction of environmental damage caused by leaching from ageing and failing septic tanks, which can contaminate local waterways and groundwater.
The innovative OneBox system, developed by South East Water’s commercial arm, iota, forms a central component of the project. The remote control telemetry system monitors and coordinates individual pressure sewer pumps at each property, transforming a standard pressure sewer system into an intelligent network. Network operators can diagnose issues in real-time from a systemwide perspective, right down to a street and individual property level, all from an iPad or PC.
In times of high rainfall when sewer systems reach their peak, the pressure sewer pumps can be slowed or shut down to allow the gravity system peak to pass. iota Chief Executive Officer Philip Thompson said the integration of this new technology has supported South East Water in its forward-thinking approach to asset management.
‘With OneBox, we have the ability to report pressure pump activity, which assists in determining peak flow demand meaning transfer system management becomes more flexible. This is ideal for managing wide variations in flows through the system during peak periods. OneBox enables these flows to be smoothed, manage system capacity and rectify faults before they impact customers. This technology provides a high level of visibility and control over any low pressure sewer system’, said Mr Thompson.
‘This is a radically different approach to designing sewer infrastructure. Utilising this patented technology has enabled the downsizing of the reticulation network and transfer mains. Due to this method, the project has seen a 30 per cent saving in reticulation construction costs with significant capital investment savings.’
The technology integrates with South East Water’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) network which operates with coded signals over communication channels. The network, facilitates instant access to information on tank storage capacities, power failures, blockages and faults.
The information takes the water corporation’s customer service to a new level, potentially diagnosing and resolving any issues before a customer knows there is a problem.
OneBox received a Global Honour Award at the International Water Association (IWA) Project Innovation Awards, held in Korea in 2012. Iota holds the worldwide patent for this technology.
‘This technology really has the potential to not only revolutionise communities [that are] traditionally reliant on septic tanks, but the way water and sewer corporations plan, design and operate sewer schemes. We are very excited about the future of this innovative technology,’ said Mr Thompson.
iota was established to capture innovation, trial progressive concepts and deliver successful technological solutions. iota continues to advance the capability to share services and technologies across the water industry.