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How the City of Toronto Saved Thousands on Pipe Inspections

The Deep Trekker team was thrilled to work with the City of Toronto on a recent sewer inspection. Using the Deep Trekker REVOLUTION ROV, equipped with sonar, the Toronto Water team successfully inspected a 100 year old submerged sewer pipe.

Use of the REVOLUTION

The REVOLUTION was used to conduct an inspection of a City of Toronto sewer. “It’s a 100 year old sewer; it's the oldest sewer in the city,” explained Bill Shea, Director Distribution and Collection Inspects, Toronto Water, City of Toronto. “This particular sewer is under lake level so it’s always submerged so the only way to do inspections in the past was to use a diver. Diving in the sewer is dangerous and we’d prefer not to do that.”

“The City of Toronto provided us an opportunity to provide training as well as showcase our REVOLUTION ROV. Because of the dangers involved, as well as the diameter of the 100 year old submerged pipe, it was virtually impossible to send divers in to do an inspection. Given that this was an active outflow we had to use an ROV with enough power. The REVOLUTION ROV was more than capable. With the water being very murky we couldn’t do the inspection without the sonar attachment,” Tristan Walker, Business Development, Deep Trekker.

Arash Farajian, Business Operations Consultant, Toronto Water, City of Toronto also noted how crucial the sonar integration was to a successful inspection.

“We’ve so far been able to go up a section of pipe that we weren’t able to do without the sonar,” said Farajian. “The murkiness and the debris obviously doesn't help because even with the lights on you can’t see anything past a couple inches. Sonar is essential really trying to figure out where you're navigating.”

Locating Structural Issues

Using the REVOLUTION, the City of Toronto team was able to identify a small crack in the concrete pipe. While the crack was very fine, it is incredibly valuable to identify such structural issues to safely and efficiently address them.

“With sonar we’ll be able to know if there are any structural issues, if there’s any leaks potentially,” explained Farajian. “With the camera feed we’ll be able to see things as you get closer to it. Traditionally, we weren’t able to do that. This is solving a problem that’s getting us to be more proactive with our infrastructure, to know about problems ahead of time - before it gets to failure.”

Toronto Revolution

Safety with the REVOLUTION

Even in exceptional condition there are always dangers to sending divers underwater. In this specific instance, the active outflow combined with the diameter of the pipe meant that putting a person in the water was out of the question.

“My Director said there’s got to be an easier way of doing this, there’s got to be something that’s a little bit more reliable and safer for the staff. And you’re not sending a person up a pipe,” emphasized Farajian.

By using the REVOLUTION for inspections, the City of Toronto can keep divers out of hazardous waters.

Saving Money with the REVOLUTION

The use of ROVs for inspection saves money in several ways. The hiring of external teams, such as dive teams, becomes unnecessary with an ROV. Additionally, the time required for conducting inspections is greatly minimized, allowing for work hours to be utilized efficiently. Finally, the ease of inspection

“Part of my job is actually to try to put some numbers on the paper and actually talk about our return on investment,” explained Farajian. “Just with the first generation of this ROV, so I’m talking about the DTG2 that we got, we saved over $15,000 but also like I said in terms of proactive maintenance we also know about problems ahead of time. Now on the REVOLUTION because of the added stability on it, the sonar on it, we’re really looking to savings in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. With the advent of this technology we can now do it much more safely and quite frankly cheaper.”

Deep Trekker Training

Deep Trekker is proud to offer training services to get operators started off on the right foot. Technical Trainer Alexander Gold was on hand to assist the City of Toronto in conducting their first inspection with the REVOLUTION.

“Just getting this training out in the field helps a lot because you can really see it in action, you can lay your hands on it” said Shea. “In this particular session we’re looking at the sonar unit and it’s great to have that hands-on experience and Alex has been fantastic.”

“It’s really rewarding to be able to train our clients successfully in using the ROVs,” shared Alexander Gold, Technical Trainer, Deep Trekker. “They save time and money, their operations happen a lot faster and their staff are all completely safe. The REVOLUTION ROV equipped with multibeam imaging sonar is not only able to navigate incredibly murky water but we could actually identify a specific crack, a very fine crack, in the concrete pipe even though the camera couldn’t see anything. What was originally just a showcase and training session turned out to be an excellent demonstration of how this technology succeeds in incredibly harsh environments.”

The Deep Trekker Difference

“I think that Deep Trekker is a company that’s expanding and developing new products that we can really use so it’s going to be a great partnership!” shared Shea.

The Deep Trekker team sincerely thanks Bill Shea, Arash Farajian and the City of Toronto for their time and effort.

As always, our team of experts is here to answer any questions you may have about the use of ROVs for remote inspection. When you’re ready to get an ROV of your own, reach out to get your customized quote .

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