Watercare Wastewater Pipeline

Watercare Wastewater Pipeline

Client: McConnell & Dowell & Watercare

Project: Watercare Wastewater Pipeline

Watercare’s was about to bore a new pipeline out to sea which involved using a tunneling bore machine being installed at Watercare’s Army Bay treatment plant.  It was a great achievement as the boring machine known as “Blanch” broke the world record for the longest pipeline ever for this type of machine.

SkyHigh Creative were invited to be part of the project from start to end as we could provided a number of different services to the client including ground & aerial photography, videography, time lapse along with aerial surveys.  

Read More – New tunnel boring machine arrives for outfall pipeline project at Army Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant

Read More – Blanche the giant tunnel boring machine makes progress at Army Bay



Task 1 – Aerial Survey – Watercare Army Bay

Before this project could commence a number of surveys had to be completed in order for the project to continue.  SkyHigh Creative were brought onto the project to conduct a high resolution aerial survey of McConnell & Watercare’s site location along with the access road.  This was to record the current condition of the sites and road infrastructure that will be used for the first stage of the project.

We flew our drones at low altitude up and down each location taking dozens of 20MP high resolution images.  These were taken back to our offices and stitched together to create one extremely large image of the whole complex to the effect that you could make out individual leaves on the ground.

Images below are extremely low resolution in comparison to the final images that was delivered to the client



Task 2 – Aerial Survey – NZDF Infrastructure Survey

As the pipeline was going under New Zealand Defense Force land, construction was required at a number of locations on their land which involved heavy trucks being used to transport material back and forth along NZDF road infrastructure and land.

Before anything got underway it was our responsibility to perform high resolution aerial surveys surveys of each of these roads along with the complete road infrastructure that these trucks would be using before construction got underway.  This also included video mounted footage of the road infrastructure that the heavy vehicles will be using which was shot in 4K UHD resolution.  This allowed McConnell & Dowell to record the current state of the road infrastructure and repair any damage that is caused by the heavy vehicles after the project had completed.

Low altitude high resolution 20MP images were taken of the whole road infrastructure and all drone operations over NZDF were conducted under CAA102 as this was a requirement insisted upon by NZDF.


Task 3 – Blanche – Ground & Aerial Photography & Videography

Blanche was the name of the boring machine that would be used to tunnel the pipeline out to sea.  We were asked to join the media team on the big day that the tunneling machine was to start boring a pipeline out to sea.  We were asked to capture the event and the tunneling machine from the ground so that both Watercare & McConnell & Dowell could use the footage for their own internal and external promotional material.


Task 4 – Pipeline Floating – Aerial Photography & Videography

After Blanche had made it our to sea in it was time too float two 450m sections of pipeline from Kaiaua to Army Bay north of Auckland.  We were asked to capture this on film from the air for the client so that it could be used for promotional material and media releases.


Task 5 – Pipeline Sinking – Aerial Photography & Videography

Once the pipeline arrived at Army Bay we were asked to join the crew out on the oceans to watch the sinking of the pipeline out at sea.  Here we were asked to capture the event from the air which required us to take off and land from the boat we were on.  We were also asked to upload the footage asap whilst out in the field so that media outlets can access it for the nightly news. 


Task 6 – Blanche Retrieval – Time Lapse, Aerial Photography & Videography

It was time to retrieve the tunneling machine from the ocean and get it back on land.  The machine was floated from Army Bay to Gulf Harbor where it was too be lifted out of the water using the large cranes they use to lift boats out of the water.  The client asked us if we could capture this final stage on film for them.

Task 7 – Pipeline Fly-through – Aerial Videography

Our final task on the project was to record an aerial fly through which tracked the pipelines course from the Watercare site out into the ocean so that.


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