May 29, 2012 by Dr. Chris Wood
Over the course of the next year or so, Peachtree City residents most likely will be unaware of the modern marvel at work beneath their feet, thanks to a partnership between the Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority (PCWASA) and RedZone Robotics. RedZone’s advances of science may resemble science fiction, but will no doubt gather valuable facts and data to aid in the future planning of capital projects for the utility’s sewer system.
During the February PCWASA Board Meeting, the Authority entered into a contractual agreement with RedZone Robotics for data acquisition, software, and inspection services. Through its Y.E.S. (Your Entire System) Program, RedZone also will combine the new data on the integrity of the PCWASA sewer system with existing information the Authority already has gathered to date via other inspection methods, creating a centralized system of record for the utility’s abundant sewer system.
The timeline of the data gathering process by RedZone’s Solo Unmanned Inspection Robots is approximately 15 months from the time the work kicked off in mid-April. However, the cost of the project for PCWASA is being spread over seven years, with favorable payment terms provided by RedZone.
The speed in which the data can be gathered by these technologically advanced robots, which are lightweight systems with onboard intelligence and full coverage tracking, is unmatched in the industry. That benefit, coupled with the flexible financing and payment plan for RedZone’s services, make this partnership advantageous to the Authority on both accounts, say Authority officials.
“The data that would have taken us 15 years to gather by conventional televising methods will now take only 15 months,” says Stephen Hogan, PCWASA General Manager. “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.”
Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, RedZone Robotics provides high efficiency pipeline inspection products and services for utilities and municipalities throughout North America, with robots that look like they could star in a science fiction film, says Hogan. RedZone’s work will allow PCWASA to maintain and enhance one of the most valuable assets of its sewer system – the sewer lines in the ground.
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.
Chris Wood, Ph.D.