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Our three key achievements at Lyttleton Port

5 September, 2019


As we move into our fourth year conducting water quality monitoring for Lyttleton Port of Christchurch, we take a moment to look back over our work as part of New Zealand’s largest dredging project.

In 2016, Vision Environment was contracted to conduct monitoring and ensure environmental compliance for the Lyttleton’s channel deepening, widening and lengthening project. The dredging program was forecast to remove around 18 million cubic metres of spoils from the harbour floor.

“We were involved from the very beginning,” says Leonie Andersen, director at Vision Environment.

“We proposed to help them design a monitoring program that was absolutely world best practice and we were on board before the dredging was even approved to assist with the consent process.”

Assistance with approvals

Lyttleton asked Vision Environment to represent them as their water quality experts throughout the consent process. Something which proved to be invaluable for the port.

Jared Pettersson, project director at Lyttleton, says it was really important to the local and national regulators that their environmental supplier could demonstrate a previous track record.

“Vision Environment was deeply involved in some of the stakeholder consultation. It became very important that we had someone who could say ‘we’ve done that before’,” explains Jared.

“They knew how to solve problems pre-emptively or find solutions pretty quickly when they arose. And they are very responsive,” he says.

“They provided a total solution for collection, processing, and data display and user interface, which was something no-one else really offered.”

Customising equipment

Once approvals were in place, the next major challenge was the tough climatic conditions of the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, says Leonie.

“Our buoys had to be good enough to stand the 70 knot winds that can spring up along that part of the coast line,” she says.

“Especially when considering the extra weight they had to carry, as we needed lots more solar panels and batteries than we would need in Australia.

“We couldn’t find suitable buoys anywhere, so we had to fabricate them. We designed and had custom made four buoys that could hold the weight of these four solar panels.”

Leonie adds they then managed to successfully mobilise three container loads of equipment across the ditch, plus an onsite team.

“It was a big undertaking, but we were able to provide that high quality onsite support despite the fact we were located in another country,” she says.

Real-time management

Another element of customisation came about due to Lyttleton’s monitoring and alert requirements.

“It was the most complicated display we’ve ever done,” says Felicity Melville, also director at Vision Environment.

Vision Environment offers a visual dashboard that helps clients keep track of all their monitoring in real-time.

“Lyttleton needed to show numerous factors in their display,” says Felicity.

“Ultimately, we were able to deliver a dashboard that both the client and the dredge operator could see, which enabled them to manage the dredge between them using real-time data and getting email and text alerts the moment any exceedances occurred.”

Jared concurs. “The data quality and reliability has been excellent for the period they’ve been in the water, which has been a very long time.”

Want to know more?

If you’d like to talk to us more about our work at Lyttleton or how we could bring customised water quality monitoring solutions to your next project, get in touch.