Townsville City Council

Townsville City Council Case Study

As a rapidly growing council in the state of Queensland, Townsville City has a developing need for detailed condition assessment of their vast wastewater network.  

Townsville’s water asset engineers and project managers continuously inspect their sewer pipelines and need fast, efficient ways to review footage and formulate decision plans for the required works.

After reviewing their existing process, the Townsville City Council team engaged VAPAR to facilitate a review of their backlog inspections and assess the process using the VAPAR.Solutions platform.

About The Client

Townsville City Council Logo

Townsville Water is responsible for providing wastewater services to the Townsville area. 

As a business unit of Townsville City Council, Townsville Water operates the sewerage network that collects, transports, treats, and disposes of wastewater (sewage) from homes and businesses in the city. 

Approximately 17 billion litres of wastewater are collected and treated each year through a 1200-kilometre network of sewerage mains, 190 pumping stations, and six wastewater treatment plants. 

Their plants use state-of-the-art wastewater treatment processes that meet strict environmental and public health standards. The biosolids produced in these processes are re-used in agriculture, providing a welcome nutrient boost for graziers and farmers. 

Outside the southeast corner, Townsville is the largest city in Queensland. 

  • The current official population count is 196,800 (Australian Bureau of Statistics Estimated Resident Population, 30 June 2020). 
  • It is estimated that by 2041, Townville will have a population of approximately 282,281 people (Queensland Population Projections, 2018 edition). 

Townsville is located about halfway between the tip of Cape York and Brisbane. The Ross River flows from the foothills of the Hervey and Mount Stuart ranges to its outlet in Cleveland Bay, where the CBD’s skyline is dominated by the distinctive Castle Hill and Magnetic Island lies just eight kilometres offshore. 

The local government area covers 3,736 square kilometres (0.2% of the total area of the State of Queensland) and is currently experiencing rapid residential development through the Northern Beaches growth corridor. 

Project Snapshot

Townsville Council utilised the VAPAR platform for a comprehensive backlog review of their expansive 1,200 km network, coordinating with external inspection contractors to identify key catchment projects and assets requiring attention.

Given Townsville’s extensive pipeline network, the council’s primary focus was on identifying the most at-risk assets from yet-to-be-evaluated inspections. Their goal is to develop a priority list of assets requiring engineering work, forming the basis of a detailed rehabilitation plan for upcoming tenders

The Challenge & Opportunity

Townsville’s water asset team needed to assess the precision of their current asset grading against VAPAR’s AI-driven process, focusing particularly on multiple reported defects from previous asset lining works.

By separating the key area into 3 catchments within South Townsville, the city was able to allocate 11.5km of pipeline inspections to evaluate within VAPAR.  

The challenge was to quickly deliver reported outcomes & prioritisation for planned works, which their current inspection grading system had not provided. This issue is often seen when defect grade report outcomes vary due to the complexity of contractor workflows or the speed of delivery.

Confronted with separate reports of defective lining works within their pipeline network, the council was keen to quickly develop a decision-making/rehabilitation planning program. 

The Solution

By directly uploading footage into VAPAR, organised into folders by catchment areas, the Townsville team in collaboration with VAPAR engineers, reviewed and provided detailed defect reports for approximately 250 inspections.

VAPAR’s AI processing translated the video footage into a series of reportable images, facilitating quick reviews. This enabled engineers to identify over 9,500 pipe defects and features, compiling them into industry-standard reports. Prioritisation & organisation of the asset inspections was performed using the WSAA reporting standards for structural and service grading inherent in the platform design. 

As a result, the council pinpointed 10 key assets with reported defects from previous lining and T-seal failures requiring urgent attention to address key risk locations in the city. This led to a swift generation of a list of repair recommendations, setting the stage for contractor-led rehabilitation works

Moving forward, Townsville City Council plans to engage a contractor for the tender of these works and continue their sewer network condition assessment into the next financial year.

Results

The 11.5km of pipeline inspections conducted using VAPAR yielded over 9,500 pipe features, detailed both online using cloud-hosted software, and catalogued PDF reports. This extensive work was completed within just 8 weeks of engagement, identifying more than 20 assets with a Structural or Service grade of 4 or above.

The Council’s asset and project engineers are now leveraging VAPAR’s cloud storage system for collaborative rehabilitation planning. This unified system provides complete online access to inspection videos and PDFs, streamlining the delivery process for both internal and external stakeholders

Conclusions

Townsville City Council, as part of a condition assessment of their 1200+ Km water network have been able to inspect, review and report over 11.5Km of waste-water assets in just 8 weeks.

Identifying 10 key assets containing several reported defects related to previous lining & T-seal works and over 20 assets with grades of 4 and 5. The Council will now look to communicate their repair recommendation list on assets with gradings of 4 & 5 and develop a rehabilitation plan with an external contractor. 

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