Dec 28, 2012 by Dr. Chris Wood
Gather the intel and rehab the infrastructure. It’s a two-step process that keeps contractors and crews from the Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority (PCWASA) busy taking care of the community’s sewer system.
This necessary work in the field is made easier, more efficient and more cost-effective thanks to technologies and innovations utilized by PCWASA in both the condition assessment and rehabilitation phases of its capital improvement plan.
To get an idea of “how big is big and how bad is bad,” in the words of PCWASA General Manager Stephen Hogan, the Authority contracted with RedZone Robotics, headquartered in the robotics hotbed of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to implement the vendor’s Y.E.S. (Your Entire System) Program. This complete system review includes data gathering, software, and inspection services that will aid in the Authority’s prioritization and execution of an aggressive rehabilitation and capital improvement plan.
According to Keisha Lisbon-Thorpe, PCWASA Division Manager of Technical Services, RedZone crews have completed all of the condition assessment of the smaller sewer lines of the utility’s system – those pipes between 8 inches and 12 inches in diameter. These smaller lines were inspected using the RedZone Solo Unmanned Inspection Robots, which are lightweight systems with onboard intelligence and full coverage tracking, capable of moving upstream or downstream at the touch of a control.
As a result, the Solo Robots are able to collect data at a quicker pace than what would be possible with any other method or innovation available in the industry. Authority officials estimate that it would take 15 years to inspect, via conventional methods, what RedZone Robots can do in 15 months, which happens to be the extent of the company’s professional services contract with PCWASA. In fact, RedZone is ahead of schedule and within budget since this condition assessment work kicked off in April, notes Lisbon-Thorpe.
Now that the review of all of the smaller sewer lines within the PCWASA system has been completed, RedZone has moved on to condition assessment of the utility’s manholes and larger sewer mains. The Authority has approximately 4,000 manholes as well as 171 miles of gravity sewer mains and 15 miles of force mains to assess. Approximately 56 percent of the manholes and 60 percent of the larger diameter sewer lines have been reviewed to date, says Lisbon-Thorpe.
Once the condition of the Authority’s infrastructure has been evaluated, with the help of RedZone Robots, work can begin on rehabilitation, when and where necessary. An example of a recent sewer system rehab/capital project took place at the Planterra Ridge Golf Course in Peachtree City, where PCWASA contractors utilized Cured In Place Pipe (CIPP) Installation to repair aging sewer lines in an environmentally friendly and cost effective manner.
Chris Wood, Ph.D.