A sewer modelling technology developed at The University of Queensland in support of corrosion and odour management across urban sewerage networks has been adopted by environmental management technology firm, Envirosuite (ASX:EVS).

Researchers from UQ’s Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC) developed the SeweX technology, which uses mathematical modelling to identify corrosion and odour hotspots in sewer networks and to optimise mitigation strategies, in partnership with water utilities in Australia and overseas.

UQ’s technology transfer company UniQuest negotiated an exclusive licence agreement with ASX-listed Envirosuite.

AWMC Director Professor Zhiguo Yuan AM said the technology was developed in response to needs identified by the water industry.

“Corrosion and odour problems in sewers are most often caused by sulphate-reducing bacteria in sewer biofilms that produce hydrogen sulphide,” Professor Yuan said.

“Hydrogen sulphide is released into the atmosphere above the wastewater, causing odour problems, and is converted by sulphide-oxidising bacteria into sulphuric acid, which is corrosive to concrete sewer pipes.

“Sewer networks can include many kilometres of sewer pipe and various topographical elements, such as rising mains, gravity mains, pumping stations and manholes. It is practically difficult to physically inspect all these structures to identify corrosion issues, making modelling a more efficient and cost-effective alternative.”

Envirosuite Chief Scientist Robin Ormerod said corrosion in sewer and drinking water systems was estimated to cost almost $1 billion every year in Australia.

“This technology will see towns and cities with reduced odour and will save wastewater operators millions of dollars every year in operational costs and consumer complaint management,” he said.

“This partnership is an exciting one. Bringing together tools like the UQ-developed SeweX with Envirosuite’s digital technology focus, is hugely powerful.”

UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss said SeweX incorporated complex algorithms into its model to cleverly predict odour and corrosion hotspots across sewerage networks.

“It is fantastic to see UQ research helping an Australian company like Envirosuite to drive key improvements to the way water utilities manage wastewater to benefit communities right across the country, and even globally,” he said.

Envirosuite will integrate SeweX into its product suite for real-time and predictive environmental technologies for release in early 2020.

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