How Biennial Sewer Inspections Can Prevent Sewer Disruptions in Municipalities.

How Biennial Sewer Inspections Can Prevent Sewer Disruptions in Municipalities.

Underground sewer lines are everywhere.

Whether it be a rural farm town with a population of under a hundred residents, or a bustling metropolis with a million people within a 25-mile radius such as Manhattan, New York, every single village, town, city, and state throughout the entire U.S. has sewer lines.

Underground Utility Lines in Manhattan
Underground Infrastructure in downtown Manhattan.

This critical underground infrastructure plays a major role in the daily lives of citizens, whether they realize it or not. From the transfer of unwanted waste to the elimination of rainwater to prevent floods, sewer systems are consistently being utilized to keep citizens lives safe, clean, and undisturbed. And if they are not properly monitored, maintained, and updated, damaged sewer lines can result in major service disruptions and public health emergencies. These issues can be proactively prevented however, through mandatory biennial sewer inspections with a focus on cross bore investigations within lateral sewer lines.  

From flooded basements and sanitary sewer overflows to cross bored lines and other structural damage, maintaining an updated record and accurate location of these systems is of the utmost importance.

First, Prevent Damages

While there are many steps that can be taken to benefit and ensure the health and accurate location of a municipal sewer system, the first as required by law is to contact 811 before you dig.

How This Helps

By doing this, you can help ensure anytime you break ground for new construction, drill for soil borings, or directional drill to install new utility lines, that 811’s One Call service will coordinate a public utility locator to mark out lines deemed as public on your jobsite.

What To Do Next

After contact and coordination efforts are made with 811, the next step that should immediately be taken is to contact a private utility locator and sewer inspection service company like GPRS.

Why Do I Need to Contact a Private Utility Locator?

The reason behind this is that while the 811 one call hotline will coordinate for public utilities to be located in your municipality, 811’s contracted locators do not locate private utilities or perform sewer inspection services, which make up 65% of all lines according to Forbes Magazine. On top of that, public utility locators typically do not give depths of sewer lines, and, in some states, sewer lines are left unmarked and excluded from 811 dig requirements all together. This leaves these critical utilities at risk of being damaged any time an excavation company near you breaks ground or a directional drilling company installs new utility lines on site.

Sewer inspection occurring
GPRS lateral launch crawler inspects a sediment build up in an undocumented lateral line.

Costs of Not Locating

If the decision is made to excavate, drill, or perform soil borings without first contacting 811, 45% of utilities on site will be left unmarked or located. If that choice is followed by breaking ground without the contact of a private utility locator and sewer inspection company like GPRS, the other 65% of underground infrastructure on the job site will be at risk of being damaged.

Not only will this be a potential costly day for your project’s bottom line, but a threat to your workers’ health and safety.

The average cost to repair an individual utility strike is $56,000 as reported in a 2021 study by Finch Brands.

$56,000 per event adds up quickly and can result in budget overruns, project downtimes, safety hazards, and unhappy citizens who must boil their water or can’t use their plumbing. Some damages are so severe that they have resulted in over 30 million dollars-worth of destruction, as was the case when explosions caused by a cross-bored sewer line severely burned two women.  

Plus, statistics from the Common Ground Alliances 2021 Dirt Report display 41,000 underground utility damages attributed to water, sewer, and drainage/storm drain work.

Graph of Utility Damage Statistics for 2021 in the U.S.
2021 Dirt Report Displays Number of Reported Damages by Work Performed Chart.

These statistics, when compared to the reports of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2021 Infrastructure Report Card, demonstrate the dire need for proactive solutions to this ongoing issue. There are currently over 800,000 miles of public sewers and an additional 500,000 miles of private lateral sewers which connect homes and business to the public sewer lines all throughout the United States.

Additional miles of pipe are added every day through directional drilling and excavating methods as new construction begins.

With thousands of miles of sewer systems unmapped, the need to keep pace with this new construction while also mapping the current sewer infrastructure through accurate sewer inspection services and utility mapping by companies such as GPRS, is paramount.  

The Solution: Biennial Sewer Inspections

By mandating biennial sewer inspection services in your municipality, critical damages to the structural components of your municipal sewer infrastructure can be identified and addressed proactively before they become emergencies.

From clogs, blockages, breakage, corrosion, or punctures to cross bores, joint misalignments, seal cracks and leaks, biennial sewer inspections can be a valuable tool to help determine the condition of your sewer system, pinpoint defects, and rank them by severity so that you can better plan repairs. With a public utility as important as sanitary and storm sewer lines, requiring the company that performs the investigations to provide live video feedback of their inspections gives you the opportunity to view reports on an as-needed basis and have access to the exact location of where damages have occurred.

We Can Be Safer Together:

By contacting GPRS – the only nationwide private utility locating and sewer inspection service company in the U.S. – you ensure that all private utility lines and underground sewer infrastructure can be accurately located in your municipality. Whether you need to locate and map your storm sewer system, or check municipal lateral lines for cross bores, the team at GPRS is equipped with the best equipment, the industry’s best training and methodology, and the only nationwide network of SIM and NASSCO-certified Project Managers to meet your needs.

Plus, when you contact GPRS to locate utilities, you’re provided with NASSCO-certified video feedback of the condition of your lines through our utility mapping software, SiteMap® as shown in the image below.

Sewer Inspection Report
GPRS provides NASSCO-certified video feedback of the condition of sewer lines being inspected.

Having interactive, NASSCO-certified reporting not only confirms the precise location of your sewer infrastructure; it also provides you with easy-to-reference reports that contain screen shots of the interior condition of the pipe segments that have been inspected.

While on site, GPRS Project Managers can also collect the data from our sewer inspections so that it can be used to deliver you an accurate as-built map of your underground municipal sewer system. When you hire GPRS for a sewer pipe inspection service, this data is given to you within a SiteMap® Personal Account, so you can reference it from anywhere, at anytime.

As Built Sewer Map of The University of Toledo
University of Toledo partners with GPRS to map their entire sanitary storm and storm sewer system, as displayed within SiteMap®

What Equipment is Needed For Sewer Inspections?

Sewer pipe inspection (VPI) Project Managers at GPRS utilize multiple forms of industry-leading technology to perform sewer inspections near you. These include:

GPRS Project Manager lowers lateral launch camera into sewer.
  1. CCTV robotic crawlers: GPRS crawlers are robust and durable, enabling them to operate in extreme scenarios. Project Managers can provide accurate and reliable views of sewer pipelines and conditions because CCTV cameras can inspect pipes ranging from 6" to 96" in diameter.
  2. Push Cameras: GPRS Project Managers are equipped with push cameras for smaller diameter pipe inspections. These cameras can be manually fed into a pipe and provide real-time video feedback. Push cameras have a locatable sonde for mapping purposes and are an ideal tool for scenarios where the pipe is too small for CCTV sewer inspections.
  3. Lateral Launch Cameras: The lateral launch crawler allows GPRS Project Managers to inspect laterals from the mainline. This tool is capable of cross bore investigations and mapping the interior condition of hard-to-reach pipes so that the 500,000 miles of private sewer lines in the U.S. can still be inspected.
  4. EM Utility Locators: Electromagnetic pipe and cable locators use a rodder or sonde to emit a specific frequency, which the receiver then detects to precisely locate the underground utility above ground (in the case of sewer inspection, the frequency of the sonde is located on the head of the crawler or push camera).
  5. SiteMap®:  Houses crucial sewer inspection data that is uploaded by GPRS sewer inspection Project Managers after a locate is complete, such as condition of existing pipes and geolocation of underground sewer lines with depths included as shown in the image below.

Sewer line data displayed within SiteMap’s Map Viewer.

By hiring GPRS to conduct biennial sewer inspections services on your project, you are equipped with a nationwide network of Sewer Inspection Project Managers that can help you Intelligently Visualize The Built World™ to keep your sewer system, your municipality, and your reputation safe.  

Mitigate the risk of damages to your critical sewer infrastructure by contacting a GPRS sewer inspection Project Manager today.

Interested in learning more about SiteMap®?

Schedule a live demo today

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Sewer Pipe Inspection?

A sewer pipe inspection is an investigation conducted by a sewer inspection service company using CCTV video cameras to mitigate or prevent infrastructure damage by inspecting underground water, sewer lines, and lateral pipelines. GPRS' NASSCO-certified technicians can locate clogs, investigate cross bores, find structural faults and damages, and conduct lateral sewer line inspections.

Does GPRS Offer Lateral Launch Services?

Yes, we offer lateral launch capabilities as part of our standard Sewer Pipe Inspection services.

Can You Locate Pipes in Addition to Evaluating Their Integrity?

Yes! Our SIM- and NASSCO-certified Project Managers use sewer inspection technology equipped with sondes, which are instrument probes that allow them to ascertain the location of underground utilities from an inaccessible location. This allows them to use electromagnetic (EM) locating to map sewer systems at the same time they’re evaluating them for defects.