This website will not display in Internet Explorer 11 or below. Please views this site in a modern browser such as Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

South East Water, a water utility servicing Melbourne’s south east in Australia, has hundreds of kilometers of beaches in its service area which are enjoyed by residents and tourists.

The Beach Guard project established in 2018, was initiated to protect those beaches from potential sewage and wastewater pollution. The lynchpin to Beach Guard’s success is the Advanced BlokAid® which was installed in various high risk manholes to identify sewer blockages before they become a spill.

“Technology plays a vital role in moving from a reactive stance to being able to predict an issue such as a sewer spill,” said South East Water’s General Manager Customer Service Delivery, Terry Schubach.

The water authority is renowned globally for its innovations, which are proven within its network for the benefit of its customers, and then shared by Iota, its commercial arm.

How does it work?

Advanced BlokAid® is a device that’s easily installed at the top of sewer manholes and monitors the level of sewer in the manhole, estimating flow rates and tracking the presence of corrosive gases in real time.

“Advanced BlokAid® is a water authority’s ‘eyes beneath the streets’,” explains Iota’s General Manager, Daniel Sullivan.

“It tracks sewer and gas levels continuously, and alerts operators when either one spikes.”

Advanced BlokAid® lets operations teams act before an issue causes backflows or spills into the local environment – which is why it was selected for use in the Beach Guard project.

Advanced BlokAid

“Advanced BlokAid® gives us improved visibility of our sewer network… to more proactively manage and address issues.”

Terry Schubach

General Manager Customer Service Delivery at South East Water

Preempting disaster

Shortly after introducing Advanced BlokAid® into its network, a subtle change in flow rates was detected in the sewer system which alerted the operator to the possibility of a downstream blockage.

Upon investigation, a partial sewer blockage was identified and removed before it caused a spill to a popular nearby beach.

“There’s no doubt that Advanced BlokAid® gives us improved visibility of our sewer network,” added Mr Schubach. “That means we can more proactively manage and address issues … before they impact our customers or the environment.”

But that’s not all: the data collected by the Advanced BlokAid® devices helps water authorities improve day-to-day decision-making, plan networks and upgrades more effectively, and reduce maintenance costs through targeted scheduling. Reduced spill-risk means reduced exposure to penalties and clean-up costs for South East Water as well.

And the end result for customers? Smooth-running, spill-free sewers: exactly what they expect.