Drop-In Camera Helps Prioritize Sewer Repairs

A compact camera with a zoom lens has been designed to help municipalities evaluate their sewer systems without the need for man entry or conventional closed circuit televised inspection.

A compact camera with a zoom lens has been designed to help municipalities evaluate their sewer systems without the need for man entry or conventional closed circuit televised inspection.

The Aqua Zoom camera from Aqua Data Professional Services is a closed-circuit television camera with a built-in light head. The camera is lowered into manholes using a telescopic boom and its zoom lens records the condition of the pipeline up to 155 feet away from the manhole. The camera is waterproof and can be used while the sewer is still flowing.

The camera is waterproof and can be used while the sewer is still flowing.
The camera unit comes equipped with a control center and a mini-recording studio. It can both pan and tilt for better viewing. The remotely-controlled zoom feature allows operators to view the pipeline close-in, then change the focus to "zoom" out along the pipe.

The camera would typically be used in the first stage of an evaluation program, prior to any cleaning or conventional camera inspection programs. It can be used to establish what sewer sections are self-cleaning and prioritize the areas that actually require cleaning.

The advantage of the Aqua Zoom camera is its ability to view substantial segments of a sewage collection system in an economical manner without any man-entry into confined spaces.

Statistics based on five years and several thousand kilometers of sewer inspections by the Aqua Zoom indicate that an average of 70 percent of all sewer networks are self-cleaning. On average, only about 25 percent of a typical sewage collection system requires a more in-depth investigation. This kind of preliminary information has provided substantial cost savings for municipalities planning maintenance and/or rehabilitation programs.

In October 1995, the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth (RMHW), comprised of two cities, three towns and one township with a total population of approximately 475,000 people, commissioned Aqua Data to proceed with a small pilot project to inspect approximately 125 manholes that had previously been inspected using a conventional CCTV inspection camera.

The RMHW determined that technicians using the Aqua Zoom technology were able to identify similar types of deficiencies as those uncovered by conventional CCTV camera systems, in the 70 percent of the sewer mains the zoom camera could view.

The Aqua Zoom inspection cost approximately 50 percent less than conventional CCTV inspection, and the time required for Regional technologists to review the videos was also reduced.

Following the acceptance of this report in 1996, Aqua Data Inc. was awarded a contract by RMHW for the inspection of more than 5,000 manholes. In 1997 another contract for approximately 15,000 manholes was awarded to Aqua Data. It is anticipated that the existing contract will be extended by an additional 12,000 manholes which will complete examination of the RMHW wastewater collection system.

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