Australian Centre for Water
and Environmental Biotechnology

Sewer technology brings global honour for SCORe team

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Barry Cayford in Sewer

The SCORe sewer odour and corrosion research team that is radically improving sewer design and management last night won a prestigious international prize in Portugal.

The $21 million research project, Sewer Corrosion and Odour: Putting Science in Sewers, is believed to be the world’s largest sewer-related research program.

In Lisbon, the International Water Association awarded the team with the 2014 Global Project Innovation Award (Applied Research).

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said the group’s discoveries already had saved the industry partners several hundred million dollars.

“This work is delivering advances in science as well as tangible, practical outcomes,” Professor Høj said.

 “The strong partnership between the researchers and the industry organisations has been central to this project’s success.”

Program leader Professor Zhiguo Yuan, from UQ’s Advanced Water Management Centre, said sewerage system corrosion and odour was a huge problem for water utilities globally.

“Our research has uncovered a substantial level of new knowledge, highly advantageous tools and innovative technologies to address these problems,” Professor Yuan said.

The research on the optimal management of sewer corrosion and odour was jointly delivered by its five research and eleven industry partners: The University of Queensland, The University of New South Wales, The University of Newcastle, The University of Sydney, Curtin University of Technology, Sydney Water Corporation, Barwon Water Corporation, CH2MHILL, City of Gold Coast, Hunter Water Corporation, Melbourne Water Corporation, South Australian Water Corporation, South East Water Limited, Veolia Water Australia and New Zealand, Water Research Australia Limited, and Western Australia Water Corporation.

The Australian Research Council through its Linkage Research Program granted $4.7M to the project while the water industry partners provided the balance cash of $3.5M, totalling over $8M cash.

The industry and research partners also provided $13M in kind support. This was the largest research grant of the ARC Linkage Program for research within the water industry. This level of support was due to the demonstrated water industry leadership and excellence in the capability of the research partners.

“This was the largest ARC Linkage Program grant for research in the water industry,” Professor Yuan said.

“The utility participants collectively provide wastewater services to about two-thirds of the Australian population.”

“The high level of ARC and industry support that we attracted was due to our water industry partners’ demonstrated leadership, and to the research partners’ excellent capability.

“Our world-class engineers, microbiologists, materials scientists, analytical chemists and mathematical modellers have developed sustainable solutions to support the cost-effective management of complex sewer corrosion and odour problems.

“This project will have an enduring impact on the global water industry.”

Significant advances have been made by the water industry using the world leading innovative research outcomes demonstrating savings in the order of hundreds of millions of dollars, far exceeding the total research investment.  This is an Australian national achievement demonstrating the value of collaboration between the innovative water industry and the excellent research capabilities of the world-leading Australian universities.

For more information on the project contact: Professor Zhiguo Yuan,