Sewer networks are a critical part of our urban infrastructure. The total sewer asset value in Australia is estimated to be $35 billion. Concrete is the most commonly used material for large sewers due to its strength and durability. However, concrete sewers are prone to sulphide-induced corrosion, costing Australian water utilities hundreds of millions of dollars each year for repair and maintenance. Sewer ventilation influences humidity and H2S levels in sewer air, thus influencing sewer corrosion rate. However, the quantitative dependency of corrosion on sewer humidity has not been well established. This project aims to develop critical knowledge and predictive models for optimal design and operation of sewer ventilation systems, and to develop and demonstrate novel dynamic ventilation strategies to reduce sewer corrosion.


  • Tianjin University, China
  • Melbourne water corporation, Melbourne
  • District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, Washington DC
  • Queensland Urban Utilities, Brisbane
  • Water corporation, Western Australia

Project Outcomes

  • Develop dynamic models capable of predicting the spatial and temporal variations of in-sewer air humidity and temperature, sewerage temperature, and sewer wall temperature and moisture levels
  • Develop an understanding of the impact of sewer wall moisture conditions on the variability and activity of microorganism in the corrosion-inducing sewer films 
  • Develop a mechanistic model predicating corrosion rate as a function of varying humidity, hydrogen sulphide and air and wall temperatures
  • Develop a ventilation strategy to reduce sewer corrosion

Project members

Dr Jiuling Li

Research Fellow
Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology

Mr Tao Shi

Research Scholar

Mr Xin Huang

Research Scholar

Mr Yanpeng Yin

Research Scholar