Solar flood signs across Logan City warn drivers about dangerous conditions

Jimboomba Times, May 5, 2017

New solar-powered flood warning signs had been installed in Logan City roads before rain from ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie started raising creek and river levels across the region.

Manufactured locally using recycled electronic waste, the signs are a combined initiative of Logan City Council, Griffith University and YFS’ social enterprise Substation 33.

The automated signage system’s installation began in November, 2016, with the first one in operation at the Greenhill Road crossing over Norris Creek, near Munruben.

“This crossing is the one that started everything,” Substation33 manager Tony Sharp said.

According to Mr Sharp, a local woman started a crowdfunding campaign that kick-started the whole concept.

At present, 11 of the hundreds of water course crossings in the local government area have been completed.

According to a statement from Substation 33, the low-cost system allows Logan residents to receive early warning alerts about severe weather and may reduce the risk of people driving into flood water.

Mr Sharp said the signs operate using a box with a solar panel that charges a bank of recycled laptop batteries.

“In adverse weather conditions when the creek water crosses a public road, a float switch triggers four LED (light-emitting diode) light panel with the flashing words ‘Road Flooded’ and automatically sends communication to the Logan City Council’s disaster management team to be uploaded on their website,” he said.

“In the past months we have turned from being a recycling business and innovation hub to a manufacturing facility where volunteers can also create a world class product that has the potential to save lives.”

Substation33 operates an electronic waste recycling centre in Logan, providing a workplace where volunteers and employees gain confidence and skills for the transition to sustainable employment. It currently recycles 12,000 kilograms of electronic waste every month.

More crossing signs are expected to be delivered in the coming weeks, according to Mr Sharp.