Seeing the Underground Safely


By Brock Beran, PE

Communities across the country are faced with the challenges of aging infrastructure, regulatory compliance and limited funding. Stretching the budget though shared services helps them remain good stewards of public funding.

The City of La Vista, Nebraska recently called on TREKK to investigate the sanitary system in one of the City’s oldest neighborhoods. This growing suburban Omaha community wanted to extend the service life of its aging infrastructure in a cost-effective and efficient manner.

“After meeting with La Vista, we knew they had sewer issues with extensive roots. The City inspections were less formal and less standardized,” said TREKK Associate Partner, Brock Beran. “We presented them with manhole inspection options, including customized condition assessment, along with TREKK360 imagery, all linked through a GIS deliverable.”

TREKK360 is a condition assessment tool that quickly and cost-effectively captures a manhole’s overall condition and help communities make rehabilitation decisions. It provides visual confirmation of most details through 360-degree photos of each structure or manhole location, frame and channel. Monitoring the virtual reality (VR) environment allows the user to traverse the structure and visually inspect the manhole remotely, without entering the manhole.

“This value-added service compliments the City‘s regular CCTV maintenance program. TREKK360 is a step above CCTV condition assessment,” said Staff Engineer, Dillon Flesner. “Visual monitoring systems are more efficient and safer than confined space entry into manholes in determining condition and flow. The goal is to provide enough information so maintenance workers have a good idea of what they will see before they get to the site.”

Using the TREKK360 camera, TREKK’s field team completed 43 manhole inspections in a day and a half.

Information provided by TREKK360 provides details that can be shared across multiple city departments. Additional data viable to other departments can be added through customization for design to include surface type, geometric details and structure condition in a VR environment. For example, if the Street Department is going to resurface a roadway, they can coordinate the location of manholes that are protruding above grade and/or sunken below grade and correct those issues.

At TREKK, we IMPROVE LIVES in the communities we serve by providing innovative, holistic, and commonsense solutions that address and custom fit unique problems. This approach can identify opportunities to replace multiple assets simultaneously, saving time and money.

Visit to see sample TREKK360 applications (best viewed in Google Chrome)

Brock Beran is an Associate Partner and the Regional Office Manager of TREKK’s Omaha office. He has 18 years of experience in the assessment, design and construction of storm, sanitary and combined sewer projects across Nebraska and Iowa.

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