Remote monitoring of floating covers using UAV photogrammetry

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

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14 Citations (Scopus)


High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is commonly the material of choice for covered anaerobic lagoons (CAL) at wastewater treatment plants. The membrane floats on the wastewater, and hence is called a "floating cover", and is used for odour control and to harvest the methane-rich biogas as a renewable resource to generate electricity. The floating cover is an expensive and high-value asset that demands an efficient methodology for the determination of a set of engineering quantities for structural integrity assessment. Given the dynamics of the anaerobic activities under the floating cover, the state of deformation of the floating cover is an engineering measurand that is useful for its structural health assessment. A non-contact measurement strategy is preferred as it offers practical and safety-related benefits over other methods. In collaboration with Melbourne Water Corporation (MWC), an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) assisted photogrammetry approach was developed to address this need. Following the definition of the appropriate flight parameters required to quantify the state of deformation of the cover, a series of periodic flights were operated over the very large floating covers at MWC's Western Treatment Plant (WTP) at Werribee, Victoria, Australia. This paper aims to demonstrate the effectiveness and practicality of this inspection technique to determine the state of deformation of the floating covers measured over a ten-month period.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1118
Number of pages17
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • Floating cover
  • HDPE membrane
  • Non-contact inspection
  • Remote sensing
  • Scums
  • Sewage treatment
  • Structural health monitoring
  • UAV photogrammetry

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