SINO-INSPECTION – Demonstration of German technologies and software for sewer system condition assessment in Jiaxing, China

BMBF joint project IC Major Water IC Major Water


International Partnerships for Sustainable Technologies and Services for Climate Protection and the Environment – CLIENT

As the geographic concentration of society, cities are a display of macrosocial development, especially in China. The impact of global megatrends on humans becomes especially apparent in cities, e.g. in the form of a rapidly increasing population development, climate change, or economic growth. The pervasive impacts severely affect urban society and urban systems, with the drainage situation in Chinese cities as one of many examples. Whereas aboveground infrastructure has been expended continuously as a result of economic growth, the maintenance and expansion of underground systems have been given far less attention, with disastrous consequences now demanding a critical urgency for action.

SINO-INSPECTION aims to help improve the drainage situation in China by furthering the development and demonstration of German sewer inspection technologies and by adapting these technologies to the conditions prevalent in China as well as by confirming their operability from a scientific perspective. In Germany, the construction, operation and inspection of sewer systems are subject to the Water Act, and as such a responsibility of the respective municipalities. Defined criteria and requirements for the classification and assessment of drainage systems help to prioritize the demands for renovation. In China, various regulations and references rather than a universal guideline detail the assessment of drainage systems.

Due to this, the implementation of German technologies requires the development of a sewer assessment software based on a similar set of criteria that also takes into account structural, operational, hydraulic and environmental aspects.

As a result of the lack or insufficiency of maintenance Chinese sewer systems deteriorate increasingly over time. As a result, sewer infiltration water flow increases, inundation is more frequent, odorous or hazardous gases are released, and untreated waste water seeps through the soil and into surface waters. Furthermore, high waste water levels in the sewers as well as unfavorable sewer network topologies complicate inspection works and sewer operation. Sewer inspection is not only crucial for targeted maintenance. It also ensures the durability of structural sewer elements which can be understood to be capital goods with a service life of up to 100 years and hence serves an economic purpose.

The joint project SINO-INSPECTION focuses on the Chinese megacity Jiaxing in the province Zhejiang near Shanghai. Jiaxing is one of the 16 pilot regions within the Chinese Eco-Sponge City Program. The project aims to promote water sensitive urban design for both new and existing areas. To improve storm water and waste water capturing, treatment and reuse, the Chinese water sector is in urgent need of new technologies, techniques and profound international cooperation.

Jiaxing’s municipal authorities have hence declared the intention to inspect the city’s entire sewer network and to derive adequate renovation and maintenance plans by the end of 2017. Furthermore, more than 95% of urban areas are to be connected to the municipal sewer system by the end of 2017 in order to allow for a central treatment. Efficient sewer inspection technologies and techniques may profoundly contribute to improved waste water discharging conditions and may increase WWTP efficiency by reducing the amount of sewer infiltration water, the latter point being a core objective of the 13th Five-Year-Plan.

The Urban Drainage Operations of the city of Jiaxing and the Zhejiang University support the implementation, scientific verification, and derivation of sewer system assessment criteria within the project SINO-INSPECTION.