Video Pipe Inspection Services Explained

When there is an issue with a sewer line or pipe, it can be challenging to identify where the problem lies. Video pipe inspection or VPI is a safe and non-destructive method to locate utilities and detect leaks, cracks, and blocks.

VPI is effective because it allows for a pipe to be inspected remotely. Excavating and checking lines to locate a blockage, a crack, or a leak can cost a lot of time and money. Detecting damage or obstructions within the foundation or inside the cement is possible with cameras since they can navigate through underground pipe infrastructure. Video pipe inspection equipment can extend hundreds of feet through sewer mains and lateral lines. GPRS is a premier pipe inspection company that uses many CCTV camera technologies for the inspection process including push cameras, robot CCTV crawlers, and lateral launch cameras.

Why use Video Pipe Inspection Services?

Video pipe inspection services can be used for the following purposes:

  • Lateral inspection and mapping
  • Cross bore prevention and mitigation
  • Sewer and water inspections
  • Water and sewer mapping
  • Manhole inspections


Pipe location is critical for safe excavation, but inaccurate or outdated data can make it difficult to determine its location. In addition, infrastructure analysis provides accurate location data for underlying faults that need to be repaired when diagnosing pipe complications.

1. Location of Pipes

Determining the location of subsurface pipe infrastructure is vital in completing safe project excavations. While traditional utility locating methods are excellent in many regards, there are circumstances where video pipe inspection is the only way to locate subsurface pipes. 

Video pipe inspection

2. Analysis of Pipes

Video pipe inspection is used on various subsurface pipelines. VPI is used for inspecting underground sewer lines and lateral pipelines. VPI technicians can locate clogs, investigate cross bores, find structural faults and damages, and conduct lateral sewer line inspections.

Due to its non-destructive nature, video pipe inspection is an invaluable diagnostic tool. With VPI, you can detect holes, leaks, and obstructions as well as:

  • Vaults, laterals, misalignment, and termination
  • Non-detectable storm laterals and sanitary lines
  • Infrastructural weak points
  • Clogs and grease accumulations
  • Punctures, corrosion, and breaks
  • Utilities and sewage lines: their location, grade, and depth

After cleaning or repairs, an inspection can also verify that the work was completed correctly. Video pipe inspections can also be used as a method of accountability. Contractors will sometimes use VPI as a measure of taking pipe conditions into account before and after a project’s completion.


Push Cameras

Video pipe inspection requires the use of multiple CCTV camera technologies. These different video cameras have different capabilities and are used in various pipe situations. The most common VPI cameras and camera systems are:

Push Cameras

Over time, pipes can become defective, and leaks can cause many issues such as contamination, voids under a slab, and sewer blockages. Sewer lateral investigations are routine for pipes 2"-6” in diameter. These cameras have the capability of:

  • Using high-resolution video cameras for inspections of interior sewer laterals and drains under buildings. 
  • Extending range of the camera up to 300 feet.

Robotic CCTV Crawlers

Robotic CCTV Crawlers

VPI robotic CCTV crawlers are excellent for inspecting pipes (typically sewer and drain) 6” - 96” in diameter. A CCTV pipe inspection can give information about the utility line and is used to detect infractions, cracks, and other imperfections in the line. These crawlers are also excellent at line location as well. With its 360˚ pan & tilt and zero-degree turning ability, the CCTV camera offers the maximum visibility and adaptability necessary for this line of work. The cameras on these crawlers have the capability to:

  • Travel 1,000LF from its insertion point
  • Track pipe grade
  • Relay real-time video back to a remote screen operated by our NASSCO certified project manager
  • Measure defects and ovality within the pipe

Lateral Launch Cameras

Lateral Launch Cameras

The lateral launch is a type of robotic CCTV crawler. It is a sewer inspection video system that allows you to inspect laterals from the mainline. This service is commonly used for cross bore inspection or cross bore mitigation. These lateral launch systems utilize many features to inspect mainline and lateral sewer pipes. Some of the system’s features include:

  • The capability of crawling 1000’ down pipes of at least 6” diameter, and 150’ into laterals of 2” or greater
  • The auto-leveling camera can pan 360 degrees and tilt 90 degrees, allowing for a complete pipeline view.
  • Multi-frequency sondes are used for our technicians to locate the pipe from the surface.
  • Steerable 6-wheel drive and a rear-view camera facilitate navigation through the pipe.

SIM requires that VPI technicians are proficient with all these advanced technologies and more.


NASSCO is the National Association of Sewer Service Companies. NASSCO sets industry standards for assessing, maintaining, and rehabilitating underground infrastructure. All GPRS Project Managers are NASSCO trained and certified and provide NASSCO reports for our pipe inspections. There are three forms of NASSCO training and certification. Those assessments are pipeline assessment, lateral assessment, and manhole assessment certification programs. They are also known as PACP, LACP, and MACP.

The PACP is designed to train and certify VPI technicians on assessing pipelines, manholes, and laterals. The LACP focuses on training VPI technicians to address fittings and access points unique to laterals. MACP training establishes the process for documenting all defects, determining the condition of the manhole, and providing the specific information needed to recommend corrective action.

SIM is a new video pipe inspection specification focused on training and repeatable methodology. SIM stands for Subsurface Investigation Methodology, and it is one of the most rigorous and thorough subsurface damage prevention specifications in the industry. SIM has three specifications: utility locating, concrete scanning, and now video pipe inspection.


While any look towards the future of an industry is primarily speculation, we must look ahead to what’s on the horizon.

We’ve seen an incredible technological jump in the last 20 years, and now we’re seeing a convergence of those technologies. With cameras becoming more accessible and camera quality skyrocketing in the last couple of decades, we can expect this to change future VPI equipment as camera sensors increase in quality and decrease in price.

VPI specialist

Legislation is also a significant factor to consider when speculating the future of video pipe inspection. Because of the massive amounts of damages and the severe safety risk posed when pipes are blocked, it’s possible that hiring a VPI specialist will be a legal mandate. SUE services may also become mandatory for specific excavation or construction processes to mitigate the damage.

Additionally, with the cloud becoming a more significant part of our everyday lives, we can predict that databases will one day be the primary storage of water and sewer lines and location data. Currently, data is siloed and challenging to access between areas and companies. Eventually, a centralized service could store and collect utility location data. This data will most likely be acquired and managed by private utility locators through a shared database or individual methods.

These databases would be valuable storehouses of information that could benefit facility owners and managers in perpetuity.

While no one can perfectly predict what the future will hold for utilities and utility locating, it is a certainty that methods will evolve as we continue to advance technologically.

GPRS specializes in ground penetrating radar, video pipe inspection, and mapping and modeling services. Our Project Managers have the equipment and expertise to handle all subsurface challenges presented. GPRS does this by utilizing various equipment paired with their industry-leading SIM process.