By airlabs
6. December 2021

Project number: 9.902.60003 (Aerial inspection of wastewater treatment plant)

Involved cooperation partners:

Holding Graz

FH JOANNEUM | University of Applied Sciences

AIRlabs Austria

Project description/methods:

Wastewater treatment plants house various infrastructures that are difficult to access and need to be maintained at regular intervals. In particular, the outer coating of digesters and their roof shingles require workers to climb up and inspect the shingles on site. To relieve the workers of this hazardous activity, properly equipped unmanned aerial systems / UAS can support this inspection work.

The first inspection flights of the digester at the local wastewater treatment plant were carried out by the FH JOANNEUM using a legally compliant UAS that was equipped with a high-resolution camera and thus provided good, usable images for assessing the condition of the roof shingles. The possibility of video-recording parts of the inspection was also used to enable analysis after the flight.


The exemplary analysis of the roof shingles was carried out on site in cooperation with staff of the wastewater treatment plant. The inspection using UAS resulted in a significant time saving compared to conventional methods and showed further advantages, especially due to the possibility of recording the camera image. After the visual inspection the roof shingles were found to be in perfect condition. An additional result is the increase in knowledge that was gained when conducting UAS flights within airport control zones. A corresponding procedure (activation of the flight within the control zone with the drone manufacturer, registration and deregistration of the flight with the local air traffic controller, etc.) was documented.

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