case studies

May 7, 2024

Collaborating with Xylem to Engineer Floating Pump Pontoon System and Access Gangway for Sydney Water

Floating Pontoons

Xylem Case Study

Picton_Case Study_Summary

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Xylem is a global water technology provider have been committed to solving the world's toughest water challenges across utility, industrial, commercial, and residential markets globally. For the past 100 years, Xylem’s unique combination of innovative products and services, proven expertise, and unmatched customer support have helped create a more water-secure and resilient world. 


Coerco were contracted by Xylem to design, engineer and manufacture a fit-for-purpose pump pontoon system and access gangway for Sydney Water’s Picton Water Resource Recovery Facility. This facility treats wastewater from homes and businesses in the Picton area to produce recycled water, which is then used to irrigate crops at the Picton Farm. 

As part of the strict design requirements, key considerations included factors such as topography of the lake, submergence and fluctuations in water levels, water density, pump dimensions, pontoon layout and assembly, and the different materials in which the fluids would pass through. 

An additional challenge involved the construction of a floating pontoon platform that was both stable enough to support the integrated pump system, yet compliant to AS 4100:2020 (steel structures), AS 4997-2005 (floating structures), and AS 1657:2018 (fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders). 

Applying Coerco’s unique project delivery pathway, the initial stage involved collaborating with Xylem on the strict design parameters. High level drawings of the pump and pontoon system were produced, followed by more detailed design including FDA analysis and buoyancy calculations based on pump system data. 

As part of this design process, it was imperative to ensure the structure was compliant to not only the relevant Australian standards, but the design took into account wind loading factors that would allow the pontoon and its components to withstand those forces exerted on it in an outdoor environment. 

The module pontoon design provided cost-effective transport from Australia’s west coast to the Sydney-based project site. The modular configuration also made onsite assembly easy for the client as all detailed installation documentation was provided in the package for seamless pontoon commissioning. 


“Coerco’s modular floating pontoon design not only streamlined installation, but will provide a long-term, cost-effective solution to support Sydney Water’s critical irrigation requirements for the Picton region.” – Marc Alberto, Coerco Design Engineer 


One final hurdle the Coerco design team encountered during design included how the pontoon would be safely launched into the water when levels were low. The pontoon had to be first lowered onto uneven ground at the base of the lake before entering the lake. 

An analysis of the lake’s topography provided critical insights that helped shape the skid underneath the pontoon. This intentionally lopsided skid structure ensured that when the pontoon platform landed on the hard uneven surface, the pumps remained within a maximum of one or two degrees off-level once operational. Essentially, the skid was perfectly aligned to the profile of the land, with buoyancy principles incorporated into the design so that it is completely level at rest when floating on water. 

In relation to the access walkway, this proved an area of high foot traffic from facility personnel, therefore the design team needed to account for a maximum incline of the gangway to mitigate any potential slip hazards. 

A collaborative effort between Coerco and Xylem led to the manufacture of a modular, pre-assembled pontoon design that could be seamlessly installed at the Picton wastewater facility. This not only saved Sydney Water time and money, but the mix of design, materials, and engineering methodology contributed to increased safety and compliance with Australian standards. 





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