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While inspecting a 1,000-foot section of 42-inch diameter reinforced concrete pipe, the cable extending from a tractor-type CCTV inspection unit snapped. The camera, tractor and several hundred feet of cable were lost in the sewer. Realizing the severity of the situation, this was indeed a job for the Sewer Detectives. An APB was immediately issued and the search began to find the sewer camera before any significant problem could develop. The most urgent threat was that the camera, tractor and cable could block a section of the pipe resulting in an overflow on a sewer that conveys approximately 50 MGD of wastewater. Following an interview of the involved parties, the next step was to identify potential areas in the sewer system where the CCTV equipment might be found. Several areas were identified where the camera unit could have been hidden by the criminal collection system including several horizontal bends, a drop shaft structure, an inverted siphon, large service connections, and the bar screens at the downstream pump station. The evaluation of meter data and an internal physical assessment of a section of the sewer indicated where the camera was hidden. This informative (and sometimes humorous) paper provides the details of the events that led up to the successful rescue, and the information that was utilized to ultimately locate the CCTV inspection equipment.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2003

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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