Smart sensor technology to improve stormwater management  

August 16th, 2023

The challenge 

Stormwater drains and gross pollutant traps (GPTs) are used to prevent waste and sediments from flowing into the environment.  

GPTs are like underground rubbish bins. However, when there is too much rubbish in the traps, litter can escape and end up in the ocean. They also require regular maintenance and cleaning, which can be costly and time-consuming. 

Our response 

We’re using sensor technologies to improve waste management on the front line. 

We’ve developed sensors which attach to GPTs to improve monitoring of the traps. The sensors and accompanying decision support system will provide near real-time reporting on how much rubbish has been captured in the traps. 

We’ve been trialling this technology in Hobart, with the City of Hobart and across Sydney with various councils to prevent rubbish ending up in Sydney Harbour.

A sensor attached to a gross pollutant trap (GPT) used to improve waste management and monitoring of the traps.


Our autonomous sensor network aims to bring maintenance costs down, increase cost effectiveness, improve health and safety and stop waste from leaking to our waterways. It will also help councils optimise their management actions, by alerting them to which traps are nearly full. This will save time and increase efficiency. 

Following the current trials, our team will assess its success. The aim is for technology to be rolled out more extensively. This will support interested councils with their stormwater management efforts. 

Find out more by reading our factsheet (pdf and word versions). 

Senior Principal Research Scientist