AquaSens is a new range of sensors for real-time monitoring of key parameters on tailings storage facilities.

The range includes the recently launched AquaSens Retrofit Piezometer. This unique product converts the current manual dip meter reading of standpipe piezometers to remote reading in real-time. As the name implies, this instrument can be retrofitted to any existing standpipe.

A number of other AquaSens products, which will integrate with the Retrofit Piezometer to enable remote monitoring of the entire water mass balance of a tailings storage facility, are currently under development.

Retrofit Piezometer:

A solution for quickly and securely converting existing standpipe piezometers to real-time monitoring.

Prov. Pat. No 2020/04482

The Retrofit Piezometer can be installed within minutes. No specialist knowledge or skills are required for these installations so they can be done by site personnel. It is equally easy to remove and re-install the Retrofit Piezometer should the data indicate a blocked or dry standpipe. The Retrofit Piezometer measures, records and transmits the level of water in a standpipe to the cloud at regular intervals and the data is immediately accessible from anywhere using an internet connected device.  Warning and trigger alarms for high and low water levels can be sent via both SMS and email.

Other innovative features embodied in the Retrofit Piezometer include immediate SMS notification should the product be subjected to any unauthorised tampering.  Should the electronics module be removed without first disarming it, GPS tracking will commence, and the location coordinates of the Node will be sent to pre-programmed cellphone numbers. The  Retrofit Piezometer Node can also be used with a vibrating wire piezometer to provide the same security benefits.

The Retrofit Piezometer consists of three components; a 30 mm diameter Node which stores and transmits data, a replaceable battery pack of the same diameter, and a 14 mm diameter water level sensor (Probe) with a thin, low copper content cable to connect it to the Node.  The Node and Battery Pack are installed in the portion of the standpipe above the tailings. After installation of the Retrofit Piezometer there is no obvious visual difference from conventional standpipes.

Completed Retrofit Piezometer installation (include Node, Battery and Probe) – Before and After:

Water level and other key data are stored in the Node and transmitted to the cloud at regular intervals for display on a customised dashboard accessible via any internet connected device.  GSM is the primary method of data transmission but local wireless and satellite options are also available.

For further information on the Retrofit Piezometer and other AquaSens products for tailings storage facility monitoring, please send a request via our enquiry form at the bottom of this page.

RockWatch is a range of high definition sensors for measuring displacement to micron accuracy. The displacement sensor, battery, logging capability and wireless communications module are all contained within a small (200 mm x 30 mm diameter) sealed housing. Housings are available for underground applications (Closure Loggers) as well as surface (Crack Loggers) and borehole applications (Extensometers).

Closure Loggers are used in mining excavations and tunnels up to heights of 6.5 m to quantify closure profiles and to identify the onset on instability through highly precise monitoring

Crack loggers:

Range: 100 mm
Resolution: 0.025 mm
Sampling rate: 1 minute
On-board memory: Yes
Battery life: Min 18 months
Disturbance indicator: Yes
Data extraction: Data Grabber (up to 70 m) or GeoLink wireless network


The range of extensometers which is available worldwide is bewildering. Groundwork has acquired a deep understanding of the many types of extensometer which are available to enable us to recommend the most appropriate instrument for your application. Please contact us with details of your project and we will gladly advise you on which type of extensometer to use.

Other Instrumentation

Groundwork specialises in designing instrumentation and monitoring systems to solve bespoke stability problems in the field. Although we have supplier preferences, such as Solexperts, due to the proven performance of their products in our projects, we do not represent any specific suppliers but source from the most appropriate supplier worldwide for the application. Some examples of the instrumentation that we supply to clients on a regular basis are:

  • Closure Robots (telltales for early warning of rock falls)
  • Borehole cameras for depth ranges from 10 m to 600 m
  • Displacement measurement
  • Rock bolt and cable anchor load measurement
  • Pull testing equipment
  • Stress measurement and monitoring cells
  • Piezometers
  • Borehole extensometers for all applications
  • Data logging, telemetry and manual reading options for all types of instrumentation
  • High precision borehole probes

Best geotechnical sensing technology for local conditions

Analytics software, The Cloud, The Internet of Things – we now live in a world where data acquisition and analysis in real-time is not only a reality but also a necessity.  At Groundwork, we have tapped into these game-changing technologies, partnering with some of the best international developers, to create a new range of highly innovative geotechnical sensing solutions. These are unique offerings, specifically designed for the demanding requirements of the harsh Southern African mining environment.

2020 has seen Groundwork invest considerably in accelerating our product development programme to enable:

  1. Sensors for monitoring displacements to micron resolution in harsh mining environments, both underground and on surface, using our RockWatch range of displacement sensors.
  2. Providing a range of stress measurement and stress change monitoring cells to enable the 3D state of stress in rock to be quantified.  Innovative products for quantifying the in-situ performance of elongates and tendons are currently being developed under the LoadStar brand.
  3. Data from all our new sensors to be acquired and viewed from any internet connected device in real-time using our GeoLink data acquisition and visualisation products.
  4. Expanding our offering of real-time sensing technologies to applications for tailings dams using our all new AquaSens range!

We are privileged to have access to some of the best technology and developers in the world, which has enabled us to emerge from this year not only stronger than before, but also much more technology focussed.  And not just any technology … but the best global geotechnical sensing technology for the harshest of local conditions.  These are highly innovative products with many unique features not available from any products overseas.

Although we are becoming more technology focussed, our core business philosophy has not changed.  We remain firmly rooted in the business of geotechnical consulting, using data generated from our unique sensing technologies to solve our clients problems.  We look forward to introducing further innovative geotechnical sensing solutions to the market during 2021.