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Water-Related News

St. Pete considers robot program to help monitor aging sewer systems

As we start to see all the heavy rains that storm season brings, the city of St. Petersburg is considering new robot technology to make sure sewage isn't spilling into our bays.

"We have a lot of pipe in the ground, and to put eyes on it and really see what is happening is crucial for us, to be able to maintain the system in the long run for our residents and to prevent the sanitary sewer overflows,” said Lisa Rhea of St. Pete Water Resources.

Right now, the city uses large trucks to transport equipment and drops a camera down into the sewer. Crews then watch the video and check for cracks and leaks in the pipes. However, with hundreds of miles of pipe to check and rainy season well underway, the city believes robots could be a better solution.

"They put a crossbar on the manhole, and they set it, and it goes from one manhole to another," said John Stanton of Water Resources. "It doesn't need an operator. They get roughly 7,500 to possibly 10,000 feet a day, if all goes well."v