It's a dirty job but ... Some robot’s got to do it

One worker lowers the Solo Unmanned Inspection Robot into a PCWASA manhole on Kedron Drive as another worker prepares to collect data on the condition of the Authority’s sewer system. Photo/Special.

Some things are crawling through the sewer pipes in Peachtree City. Maybe even in your neighborhood.

But don’t be afraid. These robots are here to help, as they are inspecting the quality of the pipes and finding problems that will ultimately need to be addressed by the Peachtree City Water and Sewer Authority.

The robots, operated by RedZone Robotics of Pittsburgh, Penn., maneuver via a tread instead of wheels, and they have lights and cameras on either end.

The cameras record a video of the existing conditions of each pipe, which is uploaded to a network that allows for instant recall of a given section of pipe. The video is detailed enough that users can pan and zoom on certain areas.

The data gathered will help WASA chart a course ahead for capital improvements.

As one bot is lowered into the sewer system via a manhole, the ‘bot is anchored via tether to make sure it won’t go too far away. Oh, did we mention these robots are semi-autonomous, meaning they can operate without human interaction?

But don’t let that scare you. There is no chance they can wander into the sewer pipe serving your house; it’s too small, officials have said.

The big benefit of using the robots versus traditional video sewer inspection is that the robots in 15 months’ time will have surveyed the remaining uncharted territory of the WASA system.

And the cost of the work, spread out over seven years, is comparable to what it would have cost the city to have traditional video inspections on a piecemeal basis over the same time frame.

“The data that would have taken us 15 years to gather by conventional televising methods will now take only 15 months,” said WASA General Manager Stephen Hogan. “During the early years of the authority’s history, a portion of our sewer system was built originally by developers, so we’d like to have a better idea of the condition of these older portions of our infrastructure, before we prioritize scheduled rehabilitation where needed.”

Ken Wolf, Vice President and corporate officer for RedZone Robotics, says PCWASA “has a proactive attitude toward the collection system infrastructure, which should serve as a model for best practice sewer system stewardship.”

Wolf also notes that sewers are critical assets, and at a time when many still choose to neglect them, PCWASA understands that the fundamental need for establishing the lowest cost, longest useful life plan for their abundant sewer system is accurate and complete information.

“They will quickly have access to the information required to use the funds available to manage the collection system in the best possible manner for the citizens of Peachtree City for many years to come,” concludes Wolf.

Recent Comments