One of the primary purposes of those entrusted with maintaining Alabama’s infrastructure is to make sure the existing systems continue to work properly. That infrastructure includes electric, natural gas, and of course, water and drainage systems. Advances in technology have made the inspection of sewer and drainage lines not only simpler, but give local officials the opportunity to save money while keeping things running.
A video inspection uses several pieces of equipment that work together to give workers a close, detailed look inside of virtually any sewer line. A digital camera, a lighting system, a crawler, and a Wi-Fi or similar networking system can provide all the information necessary to identify both immediate and potential problems, giving workers the opportunity to fix the problem right the first time.
The digital camera is the most obvious piece of equipment necessary, but it needs to be designed so that it can provide a 360 degree view of the sewer line or pipe as it moves through the line. This is accomplished by using a camera whose lens or body can be rotated from a remote control device. It also needs to transmit a high definition image so all the details of the pipe can be seen and examined.
Without the proper amount of light, the best camera will not send the image quality necessary to properly inspect the [sewer line repair]2. It is not enough that the light is bright enough, but it also must be able to light the areas where the camera can rotate. Finally, the light needs to create a minimum amount of reflection as it potentially encounters puddles of water or water that will “blind” the camera.
Both of these units are placed on a crawler. A crawler is much like a mini ATV, a motorized, four wheel vehicle that is controlled remotely from an above ground or distant location. More than just go from one point to another, the crawler needs to have a variable speed control and be able to stop and start quickly.
Once you know the basic components of the video inspection unit, its operation is fairly direct. However, there are a few positive nuances that should be noted.
The unit is placed inside the sewer line and controlled by a licensed and trained operator. This is necessary for meeting the legal requirements for video inspections. The crawler is then moved slowly through the line, and the images it records are sent back to the operator, which are then stored on disk for the complete inspection. As the crawler does its job, the operator checks the video for immediate observable problems. The complete video is then copied to a CD where it is stored for record and legal purposes.
Using a crawler to perform a sewer video inspection does more than give a detailed view of the line. It saves money, as it can do the job quicker and more thoroughly than a person, and can go places that are too small or present a danger to workers. Safety is yet another important point of choosing a video inspection. It can potentially reduce on-the-job accident claims that result in lost man hours.
Video inspection is not just a new technology, but a way to make the entire job of water and sewer infrastructure repair and maintenance more efficient for everyone involved.