Sending in the robots
Last year, Arvin, Calif., faced deadlines to implement California’s new sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) regulations. Under the new regulations, public agencies that own or operate sanitary sewer systems are required to develop and implement sewer system management plans and report all SSOs to the State Water Board’s online SSO database. The new regulations were designed to provide a consistent, statewide approach to address SSOs, but they also held the Arvin sewer system to tighter environmental requirements.
The city has contracted with Veolia Water to manage its wastewater system since 1998. Under the contract, the city owns the infrastructure, and the company operates it, collecting and processing about 1.4 million gallons per day of wastewater. To ensure compliance with the new regulations, in October 2008 the city council amended its wastewater services contract to include the implementation of a comprehensive Sewer System Management Plan.
The company developed a sewer system inspection and cleaning program that uses closed-circuit television technology to inspect the interiors of sewer pipes and rate the pipes’ conditions to establish maintenance priorities. Robotic inspectors with mounted “fisheye” cameras move up and down the pipelines, providing a 360-degree view, which is recorded to video. The data links to a new work order system developed by San Ramon, Calif.-based ICOMMM, which generates GIS maps and issues work orders when video inspection indicates that cleaning is needed.
California’s new regulations governing SSOs primarily were intended for other areas more significantly affected by rainfall, but now Arvin officials expect to avoid controllable SSOs and ensure proper maintenance and protection of the city’s assets. In August 2009, Arvin achieved full compliance with California’s new environmental requirements.
Project: Sewer system inspection
Jurisdiction: Arvin, Calif.
Vendor: Chicago-based Veolia Water
Start date: October 2008