Advanced Water Management Centre

Sewer science research reaps rewards at BHERT Awards

Monday, 24 November 2014

The Sewer Corrosion and Odour Research (SCORe ) Project - Putting Science in Sewers, won the Business/Higher Education Round Table’s biggest annual prize in Melbourne on Thursday evening..

The B/HERT Awards recognise outstanding achievement in collaboration between business and higher education in the fields of research and development, highlighting at a national level the benefits of such collaboration and enhancing links between industry and universities.

“Within the lifetime of the SCORe project, its partners already have documented economic benefits reaching several hundred million dollars despite project outcomes still being in the early stage,” the round table group said in announcing the award.

“With much wider uptake projected for the coming years by the water industry as a whole, it is certain that enormous benefits will accrue from the project.”

The round table group said the SCORe project had developed a suite of innovative technologies and strategies to revolutionise the science and practice of integrated sewer management, addressing key gaps in knowledge, technology and tools that had hindered optimal sewer corrosion and odour management.

The research, led by UQ’s Advanced Water Management Centre, was a joint initiative between the Australian Government, the Australian water industry and the nation’s leading water research organisations. SCORe was jointly delivered by its five research and eleven industry partners: The University of Queensland, The University of New South Wales, The University of Newcastle, The University of Sydney, Curtin University of Technology, Sydney Water Corporation, Barwon Water Corporation, CH2MHILL, City of Gold Coast, Hunter Water Corporation, Melbourne Water Corporation, South Australian Water Corporation, South East Water Limited, Veolia Water Australia and New Zealand, Water Research Australia Limited, and Western Australia Water Corporation.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said SCORe was understood to be the world’s largest research project focusing on sewer corrosion and odour.

“It has fundamentally changed sewer corrosion and odour management practice in Australia and will have an enduring impact on the worldwide water industry,” Professor Høj said.

“By working closely with industry partners who collectively provide wastewater services to some two-thirds of Australians, the researchers are delivering conservatively estimated savings of $400 million over 20 years, in net present value.”

“The strong partnership between the researchers and the industry organisations has been central to this project’s success.”

The $21 million project is the second-largest research scheme funded in the history of the Australian Research Council.

“The aim of SCORe was to undertake the most comprehensive and in-depth study to date on the understanding and abatement of corrosion and odour problems in sewers to support the water industry in achieving efficient and cost-effective sewer management,” BHERT said.

Program leader Professor Zhiguo Yuan, from UQ’s Advanced Water Management Centre, said sewerage system corrosion and odour was a huge problem for water utilities globally.

“The high level of ARC support that we attracted was due to the collaborative leadership and excellent capability of the SCORe team,” Professor Yuan said.

“The combination of world-class industry and academic engineers, microbiologists, materials scientists, analytical chemists and mathematical modellers have developed sustainable solutions to support the cost-effective management of complex sewer corrosion and odour problems.

“The SCORe project will have an enduring impact on the global water industry.”

Significant advances have been made by the water industry using the world leading innovative research outcomes demonstrating savings in the order of hundreds of millions of dollars, far exceeding the total research investment.  The B/HERT Award recognises this national achievement demonstrating the value of collaboration between the innovative water industry and the excellent research capabilities of the world-leading Australian universities.

For more information on the project contact: Professor Zhiguo Yuan, zhiguo@awmc.uq.edu.au