March 30, 2023

Kaiser Aluminum & Peru CSO Survey Projects: Technology is Solution to Old Problems

In the past year, Lochmueller Group has carried out two projects—Kaiser Aluminum and Peru CSO—that showcase the use of two different Lidar sensor systems.

Lidar (noun) – light detection and ranging; a remote sensing method used to examine the surface of the Earth.

Data collection for the Kaiser Aluminum project was intended to aid in-house design for our Water Resources department and depended heavily on our terrestrial SX-10 Lidar scanner. This terrestrial scanning method, a more robust technique that relies upon ground control, allowed the Surveying team to create LAS and recap point clouds that the designers could refer to for tie-in points both horizontally and vertically.

Log ASCII Standard (LAS) (noun) – a format specification for storing and distributing digital well log data.

point cloud (noun) – a discrete set of data points in space that represents a three-dimensional shape or object; a model of reality related to a specific place as given by their coordinates and the specification of the used coordinate system.

Prior to these technological advancements, the locations would have been hand-measured or, in many cases, derived from as-built plans that tend to carry questionable accuracy. By utilizing the SX-10 technology, we were able to give the client true coordinates based on the plant’s published local coordinate system and elevation datum, therefore maintaining the geospatial relationship to other areas throughout the Kaiser property. With this information, our Water Resources department has made great progress in the 3D mapping of the existing state of the Kaiser Aluminum building site to assist in their new design of the facility.

Regarding the Peru Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) project, our team was made aware of multiple CSO outlets that had unknown pipe sizes and elevations for the existing outflow pipes due to limited accessibility. Our Surveying team was tasked with developing a method of collecting this data without putting anyone in an unsafe position.

Combined sewer overflow (CSO) (noun) – sewer overflows that contain untreated or partially treated human and industrial waste, toxic materials, and debris as well as stormwater; the result of combined sewer systems being overwhelmed by excess stormwater, causing a discharge of untreated sewage to rivers and streams.

Through research and development, our team found that modifying our GeoSLAM capture methods would allow a full point cloud of the CSO structure interior to be collected safely and thoroughly in minutes. By utilizing a modified mount, Lume Cube lighting, and retrieval system, the CSO structures were accurately scanned, unseen lateral piping was identified, and piping elevations were defined. Not only did this help with design purposes for high accuracy lateral details, but it also collected video for structural inspections. The project also required topographic collection of the current road conditions along the corridor, which was completed utilizing Mobile Lidar sensors and ground targets.

GeoSLAM (noun) – geospatial simultaneous localization and mapping; technology used to collect geospatial data from the world around us, including indoor, outdoor, and underground environments.  

Topographic survey (noun) – a data collection method that gathers the natural and man-made features of the land, as well as its terrain.

Overall, technology has truly become the solution to old problems of safety, accuracy, and efficiency. The Kaiser and Peru projects alone have shown that advanced technology can lead to the collection of previously inaccessible information in a quick, cost-effective manner for the client. Our Surveying team is happy to assist not only our clients but also other Lochmueller Group departments throughout various projects. To learn more about their services, visit our website.

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