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What Is CCTV Sewer Inspection?


One of the most difficult processes in sewer line inspection and repair is to determine the exact cause of the problem., Some problems are obvious, such as a broken sewer pipe. But other problems need to be correctly identified in order to arrive at a permanent solution. Advances in technology have created CCTV, or Closed Circuit TeleVision, cameras to go inside the actual sewer line and give the repair company the ability to exactly identify the problem.

Sewer Inspection

CCTV Benefits

CCTV technology is not always the best way to approach a sewer line problem. There are some situations that using CCTV will be the best, and perhaps the only solution.

     Examining the physical structure inside the pipe
     Determining inflow and infiltration
     Finding the location of physical obstructions, such as tree roots

CCTV Basics

Think of CCTV as a smartphone camera, drone camera or camcorder on wheels. The camera is placed on a crawler (the wheels) and sent into the pipeline using a airplanes remote controller. The crawler is equipped with lighting that allows the remote control operator to see what is going on inside the pipe. The operator sees what is going on through a wired or wireless monitor.

Though it may seem any sewer repair company can set up their own CCTV system, professional quality companies will be certified to use the CCTV method by the National Association of Sewer Service Companies. Operators and companies meet strict standards and guidelines to ensure the customer is getting the best value for the service. Certification exams are given for the Pipeline Assessment and Certification Program (PACP), a qualification customers should check for.

Before the crawler is allowed into the pipeline it must be cleaned and flushed with water in strategic locations to identify any sections of pipe that have bellied. There will be situations where not all the water can be drained out of the pipe, which may impact the efficiency of the CCTV inspection method.

Entering the Pipeline

Once the crawler enters the pipeline, the camera must be able to have a full 360 degree rotation to be able to look up, down, and around the pipe area. The picture transmitted to the operator must be in color.

As the crawler moves forward, it needs to see at least 2 feet in front of it or as much as 10 feet depending on the type of pipeline being examined. Cameras can move as fast as 30 feet per minute, or one third of a mile per hour. There is a reason they are called crawlers.

There is a footage counter on the crawler to record the exact number of feet the camera has examined. This ensures the customer and the contractor that the entire length of pipe has been examined.

One significant advantage in using CCTV inspection for the home or business owner is that it will reveal whether the installation of the pipe was done correctly. This is a problem that can be difficult to determine using other sewer repair methods.

The result of the crawler inspection is placed on a DVD or other explainer videos for media storage device as a permanent record.

CCTV Considerations

While the CCTV technology clearly has a number a benefits to it, it is not always the preferred solution. While the crawler may be able to go where people cannot, in some cases human eyes are a better solution to the problem.

The technology can only be used to accurately pipe sections above the waterline. Should the pipeline not be able to be completely drained, the effectiveness of CCTV is limited.

The actual structural integrity of the pipe cannot be determined using CCTV.


There are far more benefits than disadvantages to using CCTV in sewer inspections. As has been noted earlier, customers who hire businesses that use CCTV for inspections need to verify certifications and qualifications before moving forward.

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