Landfill fire: the project of monitoring fires with the help of the new tower. Let’s see how it works

Landfill fires

One of the first projects by Sinet Spark was the one that was supposed to help with the problem of landfill fires on Vilyuiskii highway. Every year there is more garbage and thus more fires that bother the citizens of Yakutsk. Massive volumes of smoke that are released during fires contain a number of toxic substances that negatively affect our health.If there’s a wind from the west, smoke from a landfill can cover most of the city, and residents of nearby areas are more likely to suffer from an unpleasant smell. The main objective of the project is to create a system for detecting fires at an early stage, which will allow us to respond promptly to them.

Photos from the website

There is a huge problem of detecting fires due to the vast territory of the landfill. One of the main difficulties is non-stop monitoring and detecting fires at an early stage. To solve this problem it was decided to install an antenna-mast structure (AMS) with a height of 30 meters, equipped with a circular thermal imaging surveillance system with data transmission to the control rooms of the relevant services.

Given the complexity and duration of the project, it was decided to divide the project into the main stages:
  1. Getting a permission for the use of land
  2. Building of AMS
  3. Choosing the thermal imaging surveillance system
  4. Connecting the facility to the electricity
  5. Trial operation
  6. Transfer of the object to the city authorities
We had to decide about the location of the tower before installing it. As it was impossible to build a tower on the territory of the landfill, because of the ground instability, we decided to place the AMS between the landfill and the Vilyuiskii highway. We found an open area so that we didn’t have to cut down the trees and it was convenient to drive there in special equipment. Trial flights of the quadcopter showed that from a height of 30 meters, about 95% of the entire landfill area is seen, which was a good indicator.

The choice of the AMS location

The first stage of any construction is obtaining a permit for the use of land. However, before that,we had to obtain an order for excavation work from the Municipal Service to know for sure whether it is possible to build on the selected site. After receiving the order, we submitted an application for the use of land to the Department of Property and Land Relations. A month later we received the permit, which gave us the right to start the AMS construction.
In September 2021, the installation of the tower at the landfill was completed. The AMS is a 4-sided mast with the size of 400x400 mm with ten sections of 3 meters each. In height, the mast is braced with three tiers of ropes, the total height is 30 meters. The ropes are at 9.6 m, 18.6 m and 27.6 m. 2 pcs of FBS (24.4.6) at a distance of 9 m serve as the anchor of the ropes. The foundation of the AMS is a concrete block FB-1, with an area of 1600x1600x600, installed on the ground.

Construction of AMS

At the same time the team was solving another important issue - the choice of thermal imaging surveillance system. We came up with the requirements to the system:
  • high image quality;
  • wide viewing angle;
  • circular observation system;
  • the ability to work at extremely low temperatures;
Huge amount of work was done, as we were comparing a great variety of different surveillance systems. Finally, we found “Pergam-Termoskan” camera.

Installed camera on AMS

The temperature sensitivity of the thermal imaging camera is 0.05 degrees at an ambient temperature of 30 degrees. The matrix is an uncooled microbolometer with a resolution of 640x480. The field of vision is 25 by 18 degrees. The camera rotation angle is 360 degrees horizontally and 180 degrees vertically. And most importantly, the operating temperature range is from -50 to +50 degrees. The characteristics of the thermal imager make it possible to detect a human being at a distance of 590 meters, and as a rule, fires have a higher temperature. The software allows continuous monitoring of the entire landfill area and has an automatic warning system for detecting fires. The trigger temperature of the "Alert" is set by the user depending on the ambient temperature.

The first tests in winter conditions showed that the camera works perfectly at subzero temperatures. During one week we were monitoring the territory of the private house when the temperature was lower than 40 degrees Celsius.
After the installation of AMS and testing the surveillance system we still needed to connect the object to the power grid. The first stage was to obtain a technical specification and develop a project that had to be approved by the regulatory authorities. The second stage is obtaining a permit for the use of land for the support of power lines and an order for excavation. And of course, we had to construct power transmission poles in the amount of 10 pieces and install the line itself. As a result, on February 18, we connected our facility to electricity, a meter was installed and sealed.

Schematic representation of the location of the poles of power lines and the panel

The process of setting up the camera itself took some time. A cambium networks ePMP 1000 Forse 2.4 RLL with a dedicated static IP address was installed to transmit the video stream. The speed is about 6 Mbit/s.

Video stream transmission equipment

There were also some "pitfalls", as after installing the camera on the AMS, the vertical adjustment of the position of the thermal imager stopped working. The team decided not to waste time and started test monitoring of the landfill before the end of the fire-hazardous period and sent the camera to suppliers for diagnostics in the fall. At the same time, at the moment the camera is exposed in such a way that it covers about 90% of the entire landfill area, and this is more than enough for the test period.

In the first days of observations, two elevated temperature sources were recorded by the thermal imager. One of them had a temperature of about 12 degrees. It was clear from the picture that it was smoldering garbage under the sand, which continued to smoke. To confirm that we went to the landfill and took some pictures using a quadcopter. It was confirmed that the thermal imager registered an increase in temperature associated with the smoldering of garbage under the sand.

What does the thermal imager see and what actually happens

We have set up a live video stream on our website so that every resident of the city can observe the condition of the landfill at any time. The information received will be useful to organizations serving the landfill for the rapid extinguishing of fires.

The "BLUE-RED" color scheme was chosen for the test, as it conveys the temperature difference in a more detailed way. A low temperature with a negative value is marked in blue, objects with a temperature close to 0 degrees are marked in white, places with an elevated temperature are highlighted in red. When the ambient temperature changes, the maximum display temperature of the objects will change. At the moment it is set to plus 30 degrees. This means that all objects with temperatures close to 30 degrees and above are highlighted in red, since the temperature of the air and earth is much lower now.

Color change depending on the temperature on the scale on the right

The camera is working in patrol mode. There are 7 presets in total, the movement of the thermal imager is organized from right to left and begins at the entrance to the landfill. The duration of the stop is 7 seconds. In the future, the landfill will be divided into squares so that when detecting a fire, the operator can accurately transmit the location of the hearth to the extinguishing services.

What comes next…
The team has a hypothesis that, having only a thermal imaging picture of the landfill, it will not be easy to detect the cause of the temperature rise. In the future, we will need to install an IP camera. Special equipment operating on the territory or metal heated in the sun can have a temperature close to 100 degrees, and a thermal imaging camera can issue “Alert”, taking them for fires. Of course, the operator can approximately determine the source of the temperature rise, but we strive to implement a fully automatic system for detecting garbage fires at an early stage. At the same time, an IP camera with a thermal imager will allow us to more accurately identify areas with fire sources to transmit information for their extinguishing.

This was exactly the reason why we were doing the test period, studying all possible cases and different situations. That’s how the principle of work of Sinet Spark works: to research and implement new technologies, develop prototypes, conduct tests, and explore various possible solutions to the problems. In the future, we plan to install a sensor that will determine the composition of the air and conduct a study of the correlation of the number and areas of ignition in the landfill with air quality. The results of the study can show how much landfill fires spoil the air.

At the moment there is an agreement to conduct pilot operation of our facility by the Republican Center for Information and Communication Technologies. If we have positive results, they are ready to accept our AMS with a thermal imager to their use with the transfer of the video stream to the Unified Dispatching Service on duty. We hope that the facility will show positive results of work and in the future residents of the city of Yakutsk will forget about the fires at the landfill.