Not Your Father's Sewer
By David Hamberlin
Sewer assessment technology has evolved quickly in recent years. The days of paper maps and Polaroid pictures is slipping away fast. Every time you open an industry magazine or go to a conference, there is a new technology that is being put in front of you. How do you wade through all of the technology noise and make selections that best serve your community without wasting your budget?
The first step to deciding what you need to purchase is to decide exactly what the goal is. Is there an area of the sewer system with a specific problem like roots or grease? There are multiple options for cleaning nozzles and chemicals to help with roots and grease. Do you have an area that you need to investigate because you suspect there are sump pumps hooked into the system? Private I/I and micro metering with level and photos is a great option for this. Are you looking to figure out how much debris you have in your trunk line so you can put a plan in place to clean it and return capacity? Sonar is the perfect solution for this question. Once you know your goal, then you can start narrowing down the tool that you need.
There should always be a “why” for any purchase you make. Technology can improve your life and reduce downtime if it is used correctly. When it comes to new equipment or software, don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for demonstrations. Any reputable company or dealer will work with you to make sure that what is purchased is what is best for your community.
Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to other communities and ask what has or hasn’t worked for them. Like your father always said, learn from others mistakes.
David Hamberlin is a wastewater industry specialist, offering expertise in all aspects of wastewater field services work. He is a NASSCO-certified trainer for LACP, MACP and PACP, and a member of NASSCO’s national Infrastructure Condition Assessment, Cross Bore and Operations and Maintenance committees.