Fisheye Cameras Another Giant Leap For Pipeline Inspection

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | October 2009 Vol. 64 No. 10
Envirosight Digisewer

Advances in inspection technologies have played a significant role in the ability to effectively rehabilitate underground sewer infrastructure.

A major breakthrough came with the introduction of small closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras mounted on miniature tractors that could travel through pipelines and provide visual documentation of defects and potential problems that otherwise would go undetected.

"Over the last 30 years, technologies have become available for sewer inspection that have been instrumental in providing engineers and utility managers the ability to better evaluate and manage their underground infrastructure," notes Gerhard (Gerry) Muenchmeyer, P.E., president of Muenchmeyer Associates LLC, and technical director of NASSCO (the National Association of Sewer Service Companies), a national association dedicated to establishing and implementing standards for rehabilitation of underground utilities.

"Camera inspection technologies," said Muenchmeyer, "have progressed from visual inspection with the human eye and black and white cameras 25 to 30-years ago, to sophisticated, color camera technology with the ability to rotate and be manipulated in the pipe to document its condition."

Muenchmeyer said the latest technologies such as fisheye, panoramic, zoom, sonar and laser capabilities provide the engineer with very detailed, definitive information on which to base the design of renewal technologies for the entire pipe system including mainline, lateral and manholes. The focus of this report is fisheye technology.

"The panoramic or fisheye cameras document a 360-degree view of the existing pipe or manhole and can zoom in on specific defects that are of concern to the engineer," Muenchmeyer explained. "With these technologies, pipe defect evaluation can be performed back in the office rather than in the field by the TV technician, significantly improving field production."

In addition, conditions of manholes can be documented in detail without the need for a technician to enter the structure.

"These new camera technologies are the wave of the future; providing the tools to efficiently manage the nation's underground piping infrastructure," Muenchmeyer said.

Representatives of the suppliers of fisheye equipment discussed the technology and the equipment they offer.