InfoSense has a global reputation for innovative design in improving efficiency of sewer line assessment. The SL-RAT – which stands for Sewer Line Rapid Assessment Tool – is a testament to the company’s cutting-edge approach, providing a fast, mobile, and reliable way to detect blockages.
Given its versatile and innovative functions, it is little wonder that when New Braunfels Utilities (NBU) sought greater effectiveness in preemptive detecting and addressing problems in its network, it deployed the SL-RAT.
Serving over 63,000 residents – and estimated 100,000 in a few years – the Utility’s sewer system incorporates approximately 400 miles of sewer pipe. Its team views and cleans 225,000 linear feet annually, which amounts to covering the entire system about every decade.
Prior to the introduction of the SL-RAT, NBU could only respond to problems once they occurred. But as Municipal Sewer & Water Magazine reported, the tool did wonders to maximize the efficiency of the Utility’s operations:
[E]quipped with a SL-RAT (Sewer Line Rapid Assessment Tool) from InfoSense, the utility develops data that indicates where the blockages are. Today, NBU has a team cleaning about 10 percent of the system each year, but it’s not just cleaning for cleaning’s sake. “The cleaning is devoted to the areas that need it,” Pedraza says.
The SL-RAT features a transmitter that provides active acoustic transmission through the pipe and a receiver that listens and interprets the acoustical signal. It is highly portable and can provide a sewer line blockage assessment in less than three minutes.
When NBU looked at the tool and the price, they contacted the company and worked out a monthly rental for the unit. “The owner of the company worked with us and taught us how to use it,” Pedraza says. “We inspected 20,000 feet of pipe per day and finished the project after inspecting 1.2 million feet [nearly two-thirds of the sewer system] in four months, and transferred all the data to our GIS system.
“We can now see and address areas that are not on the cleaning schedule but may be on the verge of overflowing. As we do corrective work, it overlays on top of our GIS to show the issue corrected while maintaining the original data. It’s made us much more efficient.”
Indeed, the SL-RAT can offer accurate results in less than three minutes, and its ability to communicate between the TX and RX via RF provides first-rate data labeling, data registration, and test validation capabilities. With its no-flow contact design, the tool’s operating cost is one-tenth to one-twentieth that of the common CCTV alternative.
Thanks to SL-RAT’s cutting-edge engineering, Utilities can implement a more cost-effective, condition-based maintenance strategy. Other flexible applications include focus cleaning efforts, pre-maintenance inspection, the elimination of repeat and downstream overflows, and more.
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