Video sewer inspection involves putting a camera down the sewer lines in order to see whether there are any major clogs or leaks. This process is especially useful in determining whether old pipes are causing problems. Old pipes are made in sections that are three feet long and connected. Each one of those connections creates a weak spot that could break, especially as the pipes age. Old pipes are typically made of either cast iron or clay, although these materials have been largely replaced by copper or PVC today.
One of the biggest problems with underground pipes is tree roots piercing the joints between pipe segments. This can create a huge leak or blockage which requires major work, especially since it is located underground. Video sewer inspection is the easiest way to inspect underground pipes to look for leaks or blockages caused by tree roots or aging of the pipes. It is also the least invasive because it requires no destruction of your property just to look and see what’s going on.
Here’s how the process of video sewer inspection works:
- 1. It all starts with a service truck that has a generator and a compartment for recording and monitoring of the video camera as it goes through the pipes. The truck typically will be parked over the place where the pipe can be accessed, which may be at a manhole or other access pipe.
- 2. The camera is attached at the truck’s rear to a cable and winch, which is used to lower it down into the pipes and then retract it at the end of the inspection. A tractor is lowered just into the pipe and the camera is sent down into the sewer lines.
- 3. The truck operator sits inside the back of the truck and watches the video images from the camera as it is fed through the sewer lines. He also operates the camera, sending it further and further down or retracting it at the end of the process.
- 4. In some cases, pipes may be too small for the tractor to be used. Instead a piece of equipment known as a fish is used to pull the camera along the length of the pipe. When it’s time to retract the camera, a rope is used to simply pull it back.
- 5. As the video goes through the pipelines, the operator is analyzing what he is seeing, although the inspection is also recorded so that it can be referred to later if there are any questions about what the camera saw when it was going down the pipes.
- 6. Any problems within the pipes that were detected during the inspection are then corrected. Easy fixes include overgrowth of roots, which can be taken care of with a piece of equipment that has a rotating blade on the end of it. It gets sent down the pipeline until it reaches the place where the roots are overgrown and can then be used to cut the roots off so that they will flush right down the sewer. Another easy fix is the use of a chemical that actually reduces the growth of roots in the pipes.
- 7. Major problems may include excavation and repair of pipes, sometimes requiring replacement of old pipes. In some less severe cases, a fabric liner may be pulled through the pipe to line it instead of excavating. This liner is inflated and then turned into a hard surface through the use of chemicals.