Development of scum geometrical monitoring beneath floating covers aided by uav photogrammetry

Leslie Wong, Benjamin Steven Vien, Yue Ma, Thomas Kuen, Frank Courtney, Jayantha Kodikara, Francis Rose, Wing Kong Chiu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOther

1 Citation (Scopus)


Floating covers are used on anaerobic lagoons at waste-water treatment plants for odour control and the harvesting of biogas. Scum is an unwanted by-product of the anaerobic digestion of raw sewage. This matter can form into a large mass of material, and when it floats to the surface and solidifies, it is called a scumberg to differentiate it from the scum which may still be in a semi-solid state. Given the continual inflow of raw sewage into the lagoon, the potential movement of the scum can deform the floating cover. One of the challenges pertaining to the structural health assessment of the floating cover hinges upon the difficulty in monitoring the development and geometrical profile of scum underneath the cover. The current measurement of scum requires the inspector to physically access the scum either from multiple discrete access ports within the floating cover or by using highly-skilled divers in the lagoon. In collaboration with Melbourne Water, a non-contact UAV-aided photogrammetry technique has been deployed to quantify the development of scum underneath the cover. It is shown that the digital elevation model obtained from photogrammetry correlates well with direct laser based measurements of elevation, and that cluster analysis can be used in conjunction with the digital elevation model to estimate the qualitative hardness level of the scum beneath the cover, thereby providing a viable alternative to time-consuming walk the cover type inspections. It is also shown that the total scum depth as predicted from the digital elevation model correlates well with the measurements taken through the access ports. This method could be a more effective alternative to current practice.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStructural Health Monitoring - 8th Asia Pacific Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring, 8APWSHM 2020, proceedings
EditorsN. Rajic, M. Veidt, A. Mita, N. Takeda, W.K. Chiu
PublisherAssociation of American Publishers
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781644901304
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventAsia-Pacific Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring 2020 - Cairns, Australia
Duration: 9 Dec 202011 Dec 2020
Conference number: 8th (Website)

Publication series

NameMaterials Research Proceedings
ISSN (Print)2474-3941
ISSN (Electronic)2474-395X


ConferenceAsia-Pacific Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring 2020
Abbreviated titleAPWSHM 2020
Internet address


  • Floating Cover
  • HDPE Membrane
  • Non-Contact Inspection
  • Remote Sensing
  • Scums
  • Sewage Treatment
  • Structural Health Monitoring
  • UAV Photogrammetry

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