Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Secret chamber exposed on CCTV camera

When my brother's sewer pipe blocked up last year, he called out the helpful chaps from Dyno-Rod who took a closer look with their CCTV equipment.

From the CCTV footage, they were able to determine that the cause of the problem was nothing more than a bunch of roots that had grown into the pipe work from a tree that had been planted close to the house. After that, it was simply a case of hauling the tree out of the backyard, getting the roots out of the pipe and relining it.

Now one might think that performing such work analyzing the footage from CCTV cameras might be a little repetitive, not to mention dull and boring. But for some involved in the industry, it can actually be quite exciting!

That’s right. Take the case of another UK-based outfit called Lanes for Drains (Leeds, UK),  for example, who earlier this year used their own sewer surveillance technology to reveal the 200-year-old hidden secret of one of the UK's largest man-made reservoirs.

It all started when the company in question was called in to work on a £5.5m project to repair a dam at the 108 hectare Chasewater reservoir which is situated near Lichfield in Staffordshire. The dam was built at the same time as the reservoir was created way back in the halcyon days of 1796, making it one of the oldest reservoir dams in the UK.

More specifically, the folks at Lanes for Drains were asked to carry out a CCTV survey on a 100 meter long brick-lined drawdown culvert designed to control the release of water from the reservoir. But when they did, they found that the culvert, which was 1 meter high and 0.9 meter wide, was 70 per cent blocked with silt and bricks.

So taking things in hand, they used a Kaiser-Whale recycling jet vacuum tanker to clear the debris while continuously monitoring progress with HD quality video footage from an Rovver (Remote Operated Video Vehicle Enhanced Receiver) crawler camera manufactured by Ipek (Hirschegg, Austria).

During the process, the team discovered a large chamber not identified on the plans. The hidden chamber, measuring 1.5m by 2m, was discovered 25 meters into the culvert -- 3.5 meters under the floor of the reservoir!

Lanes for Drains' lead engineer Dave Faris said that it was quite special to be able to work on a structure that had not been seen for over 200 years. And now, we can all take a look at the hidden chamber too, since the company has released an image of it captured from the camera aboard the Rovver.

I know my brother will be interested to hear the news. But if his sewers ever block up again, I'm certain that the Dyno-Rod team he calls out will fail to find anything quite as interesting as the Lanes for Drains chaps did.

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