WSAA design guidelines update and sewer ventilation

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With decades of experience in the design, fabrication and installation of sewer vents, vent cowls and odour filters, SVSR has a broad knowledge of wastewater networks, sewer ventilation and changing practices across the wastewater industry.

Currently, the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) is in the process of updating the Sewage Pumping Station Code of Australia, the design guidelines informing water authorities around the country.

The code changes are not yet final; however, according to Duncan Reynolds, SVSR’s Head of Research & Development, the draft version exhibits a renewed and very significant focus on the benefits of passive sewer ventilation – which will affect the design and manufacture of every sewer pump station moving forward.

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An overview of the WSAA changes

The WSAA sets benchmark guidelines for the design of water and wastewater infrastructure throughout Australia. Currently, the industry is nationalising standards across Australia, so the WSAA code, whilst not currently mandatory, will gain greater importance over time.

The latest update to the WSAA Sewage Pumping Code of Australia displays a more whole-of-system approach to managing corrosive and odorous gases in sewage networks. This is something we are also seeing from regional utility providers.

“There is a real focus on whole-of-life asset management and not just short-term problem solving,” says Duncan. “While the ultimate responsibility for this rests with utilities companies and designers, experienced sewer ventilation manufacturers and suppliers such as SVSR have a critical role to play.”

Installed tall sewer vent

New thinking on asset management

Understanding how gases move and react throughout a network is critical to designing the best solution.

With that in mind, in 2011 the Australian Government launched the SCORE project, a collaboration between water authorities and universities that aimed to develop new knowledge and tools to help asset managers and Utilities address increasing sewer system maintenance costs due to corrosion and odour – and which specifically addressed passive sewer ventilation.

According to Duncan, this was long overdue. “The complexity of the engineering and science within collection systems means asset managers and designers need accessible tools to get the best data. This is especially so since many are dealing with increasing costs and multiple systems simultaneously.”

Focus on long-term sewer ventilation solutions

As Duncan explains, the proposed WSAA changes reflect a long-term approach to asset management, something the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) has also addressed.

“What we are seeing is a general trend towards passive ventilation, which is a real improvement,” says Duncan.

“This is something that SVSR has advocated for many years through passive ventilation of sewage networks. We are committed to understanding the problems and providing long-term, sustainable solutions for the water industry.”

What this means for sewer vent shaft design

On a practical level, these changes will affect customers in different ways, dependent on existing infrastructure. As one example, it is likely a new pump station and new sections of gravity sewer will need to be fitted with educt and induct vent cowls. The WSAA may also specify different styles of sewer vent shafts to meet their design recommendations.

“At the moment, the WSAA recognises that circumstances vary for different utility providers based on location, climate and existing infrastructure. Over time, however, these national guidelines will become more important as standardisation increases.”

At SVSR, we are committed to innovative, cost-effective and sustainable sewer vent shaft solutions for our regional, council and commercial clients. To discuss your project, please contact us.


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