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Infrastructure monitoring set to reveal changes from water-sensitive systems

8 December 2020

Monitoring our water-sensitive systems at our Indonesia demonstration site has successfully restarted. Our local team has restarted visiting Batua to collect effluent samples from the septic tank and wetland treatment systems, following important training in our COVID-19 Safety Protocol.

Batua’s sewerage systems are also being monitored remotely, with an important piece of equipment, the OneBox unit, going live in November. Batua Project Manager Muhamad Faisol managed to successfully commission the unit – the first-of-its-kind in Makassar – with only remote video support from RISE and South East Water/iota, who developed the OneBox technology.

The OneBox unit controls the pump for the pressure sewer and provides a portal for remote access of the pressure sewer system – it is essential to monitor the pressure sewer to ensure it is properly pumping wastewater away from household toilets.

RISE teams can log into the OneBox portal from anywhere in the world to monitor water levels in the tank in Batua in real-time.

For South East Water/iota Technical Director Eamon Casey it is a critical win for remote maintenance of RISE systems during COVID-19.

‘With this unit we can monitor tank storage volumes, power and network communications remotely. If there is a fault or issue, such as a network or power outage the OneBox sends alarms to a number of RISE staff in both Makassar and Melbourne. This helps to ensure wastewater is being effectively managed,’ Eamon explains.

Going live from afar: Eamon Casey (top) from South Easter Water/iota is excited for the OneBox technology
to be in the hands of Muhamad Faisol (bottom) and Batua residents, supported by RISE (middle).

‘The grinder pump installed in the pressure sewer in Batua is the same type used throughout South East Water’s pressure sewer network in Melbourne, Australia. It has been selected because of its robustness, and pump blockages are rare with this type of pump. However, if a blockage does occur, RISE personnel will receive text and email alarms, and an audible alarm will sound in the community. RISE staff and community members have been trained in how to respond to these alarms’.

While technical support is key to getting intelligent wastewater systems started, RISE continues to build the knowledge and capacity of informal settlement residents and local Indonesian teams to ensure the longevity and success of infrastructure.

Maghfira Saifuddaolah, RISE Batua Project Laboratory and Field Monitoring Lead, has been working alongside Batua community leaders Pak John and Ibu Suneti to take water samples from the septic tank and wetlands.

‘We need to make sure these systems work for the needs of Batua residents, so it’s incredibly valuable to have their hands-on involvement,’ Maghfira explains. ‘By helping monitor it over time, they will also get to see for themselves the longer-term changes to their neighbourhood’.

Passionate about water systems, Pak John and Ibu Suneti have been the leading voices for Batua since the start of RISE, helping test equipment before installation, and now leading community monitoring.

‘It’s great to be working alongside the RISE team after they have been away for a while due to the pandemic,’ Pak John says. ‘I found the COVID-19 Safety Protocol training very helpful to make sure we can continue working safely together to ensure the success of these systems’.

Eventually the responsibility for monitoring the network will be transitioned to the Department of Public Works in Makassar who have already received initial training on the pressure sewer and OneBox.