USV Conducts Sewage Pipeline Detection and Water Quality Monitoring On A dangerous River Sector | OceanAlpha

Location: Wenchang city, Hainan province, China

Date: May 2019


TC40 USV, deployed with side scan sonar

SE40 Water Sampling USV, deployed with water quality sonde and sampling system


Case Background

The river network in Wenchang city is wide-spread and complicated. Business activities on the rivers are busy all year round, which causes huge pressure to the water environment. It’s critical for the management department to utilize an advanced method to track pollution sources rapidly to eliminate the pollution from the cradle.


Case Details

A river sector is required to be surveyed and monitored about its water quality and pollution situation in May. The river sector is relatively deep and in a turbid color, the traditional surveying method requiring surveyors to get into the water personally is too dangerous for such condition. To fully unveil the water quality situation in this sector, surveyors utilize one TC40 USV carrying a side scan sonar and one SE40 USV carrying a water quality sonde and sampling system to detect sewage pipelines and collect water samples from this sector.

The TC40 scanned the suspected river bed area with the side scan sonar and surveyors discovered 3 illegal sewage pipelines according to the SSS images. The SE40 then started to collect water samples from multiple spots in the designated area which only took 30 seconds to get the job done.


Data Analysis

  1. Illegal sewage pipelines

Pipeline detection location

3 suspected pipelines on the SSS images

   2.  Water quality monitoring

The National News reported the SE40 USV collected water samples from multiple spots and sent back the water quality data in real-time



The project proves that USV can provide in-time samples and evident for river pollution regulation, and hence improve the efficiency and coverage of water environment monitoring and managing. The USV has advantages like smaller size, flexible operation and autonomous navigation and intelligent obstacle avoidance making it a perfect substitute for the manual working method to enter the dangerous zone and collect and send back survey data in real time.