Inspecting the internal condition of gravity utility pipes is nothing new in the world of underground utilities. A sewer camera inspection has become increasingly important as many gravity utility infrastructures have become older, and the pipes have been compromised over the years. A problem with a sewer or storm drain pipe can cause major concerns, such as: sinkholes, groundwater contamination, soil contamination, sewage overflows, and many more.

Many cities and towns throughout the US have strict requirements to inspect gravity utilities every year or couple years. However, some private lines may go several years without ever being inspected, which can cause major problems. Large industrial sites typically have the storm water (or drain water) feed directly into a stream or river. If a storm pipe is allowing infiltration (which may contain hazardous materials), it can cause some major issues to a waterways ecosystem. It should be a common practice to have a CCTV inspection performed throughout both public and private gravity pipelines.

Using Crawler Video Equipment for Sewer Camera Inspection

Crawler Inspection equipment has made some vast improvements in the past several years. Several systems have the ability to adapt to the pipe size by changing tire or body configurations.  All of the various configurations allow the same camera to inspect pipes from 4” all the way up to 48” in diameter or more. There are also power elevators that allow the camera to re-center in a pipe even after a size change.

Another feature in a lot of newer crawler camera systems is the ability to take measurements of features using lasers. The camera can measure the diameter of the pipe, or even the length or width of a crack/fracture. The camera’s lasers are positioned on the camera body so they are completely parallel all the way out to the target. This allows the operator to adjust the lasers to two points on the side of the pipe and then record the distance apart as calibrated on the two lasers as they are attached to the camera body.  In order to receive proper measurements, it is important that the two lasers are not angled at all and are positioned perfectly perpendicular to the side of the pipe.

The crawler systems are also more mobile than they have ever been before. During a sewer camera inspection, the cameras used to only be seen mounted in large trucks or vans, but some systems are completely mobile and allow for much easier access in remote access situations. With all the advancements in CCTV systems, it is easier, and more cost efficient to maintain and monitor the conditions of the gravity utility pipe systems. Help avoid costly repairs and have regularly scheduled underground pipe inspections performed.

Crawler CCTV Underground Lines
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Root Damage to Underground Pipe
Complete Utility Line Collapse

CCTV Inspection Coding – NASSCO

NASSCO (National Association of Sewer Service Companies) is a nonprofit association that was established in 1976, with the simple goal of increasing the success of everyone involved in pipeline rehabilitation. NASSCO’s mission is to set an industry standard for the assessment of underground infrastructure and to assure the continued acceptance and growth of trenchless technologies. The lack of standards severely limited the value of any observations collected by crawler CCTV cameras.  NASSCO coding provides a standardized system that allows video data to be compared equally from one pipeline to the next.  PACP (Pipe Assessment Certification Program) certification, assures that each CCTV operator is accurately coding and assessing each pipe equally. This allows for both public and private entities to efficiently game plan the rehabilitation of each pipe to avoid major damages or problems.

One major advantage to systemized coding is the ability to put a rating value on every pipeline in a system. With every crack, fracture, break, or root ball the coding system allows a utility owner to quickly determine which pipe runs need immediate rehabilitation, and which ones can wait.

One thing is for sure, whether a pipe is public or private; it is recommended that you have the pipe CCTV inspected regularly. And when you do have the line inspected, it should be done by a NASSCO certified operator to assure that is done properly.

Encompass Sewer Camera Inspection and CCTV crawler services

Within the past two years, Encompass Inspections has added sewer camera inspection to the list of services we provide. As a service that is provided mostly on public utilities, and typically performed by municipalities themselves, we see an opportunity to provide inspection services to a wide variety of clientele. Anywhere from 4 inch pipes up to 8 foot culverts, Encompass Inspections has been able to efficiently inspect and code along NASSCO’s certified training. With the ability to mobilize to even the smallest jobs, we are hoping that more potentially ruptured or damaged lines can be found and repaired.

Along with video footage and pictures of the condition of the pipe, Encompass Inspections also provides a detailed breakdown report of each section of the pipe recorded.  This gives the utility owner a quick overview of what obstacles, obstructions, or the lack there of, that were found during the inspection. Providing effective and efficient details on the condition of the pipeline is the ultimate goal for Encompass Inspections during allCCTV inspection services.


sewer camera inspection
Sample of an Encompass CCTV Inspection Report

Another key factor to providing excellent CCTV services is the equipment being used.  At Encompass Inspections, we want to use the best equipment that still allows us to be versatile and mobile. We have used (and still use) equipment from manufacturers such as Pearpoint, Inuktun, and IBAK to inspect pipe lines.

However, we own and typically operate Envirosight equipment that is completely mobile and can travel up to 2000 feet from a single access point (1000 feet each way) without needing to move if the pipe is in good condition and inverts are level with the bottom of the manhole.  

Being mobile is important because a lot of times we do not have the ability of pulling up to a manhole in the middle of the street and inspecting the pipe from the inside of a truck.  With fully mobile equipment, Encompass has fewer limitations, and far more capabilities then truck or van mounted systems.

CCTV for Sewer Lines
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Video Inspection of Underground Pipes