Safer and Easier Insepections with Melbourne Water

Zack Johnson
Zack Johnson

Melbourne Water Corporation plays an important role for Melbourne’s inhabitants: providing water catchment, treatment, supply, and waterway management for the entire population. They manage 47 reservoirs, 14 water treatment plants, thousands of kilometers of pipelines and aqueducts, and about 2,000 square kilometers of water catchment areas. Frank Courtney works with the service delivery and strategic asset management teams to identify emerging beneficial technologies that mitigate operational safety risks, increase efficiency, and improve the products and services delivered to the 4.2 million people living in Melbourne.

Safer, Easier, and Cheaper Inspections

Frank has pioneered a number of test cases and trial programs focused on introducing unmanned technology into the company's inspection toolbox. The Trident Underwater Drone is part of a new asset management evaluation phase and is already starting to show promise. Frank says,

"Just as with the aerial drones, we are advocates of remote technology underwater. Remote inspections help us reduce costs, run more frequent or different types of visual inspections, and greatly reduce human exposure to risk."

In many cases, Trident helps reduce the costs associated with regular inspections by running them remotely and more efficiently than any manned inspections.

“For assets that are submerged, a regular inspection involves booking commercial divers. The cost of a single dive is two times that of a Trident. Using Trident for most planned inspections in our industry saves you money. It’s an absolute no-brainer.”

In addition to reducing the cost of regularly scheduled inspections, Trident also allows for more frequent and insightful inspections, adding value to any asset management toolkit.

“Your return on investment is calculated both for the work you can do with this tool and the work that you aren’t doing because you now have a tool like this. A real example for us is being able to make an informed decision to do a replacement or schedule a repair, which would be a large capital project. Trident is invaluable in helping make these decisions.”

Beyond cost savings, much of the work that Frank does with Melbourne Water revolves around reducing risk to humans. Trident and other remote technologies can fill in for jobs that are dangerous without compromising the quality of visual-only inspections.

By using a tool that gives our operational people the ability to assess a situation while avoiding putting divers in the water, we greatly increase their ability to get quick feedback without the risks. Every day, people are injured doing this type of work.”

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For over 14 years, Frank Courtney has been seeking and identifying new approaches and technology tools that “change the game” from the business standpoint to realize safety, efficiency, and effectiveness outcomes.

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