Tuesday, September 10, 2024
10:30 AM - 11:00 AM
If It Ain’t Dirty Don’t Clean It! Increasing Operational Efficiency with Acoustic Inspections

Purpose: Present our methodology to supplement traditional line cleaning and CCTV with acoustic inspection tools to reduce labor and equipment costs and discuss how this approach has been used to evaluate and optimize our regular cleaning schedule of sanitary sewer mains. Benefits of Presentation: Acoustic inspection is a faster and cheaper alternative for pipeline assessment than traditional CCTV inspection. Acoustic inspection tools do not require vehicular access and provide a simple to read 0 to 10 condition score. One major challenge of acoustic inspection is that even a clean, well-functioning pipe may not score a perfect 10. This presentation will explain an objective methodology to establish a baseline acoustic inspection score for an underground pipe that can be applied to several facets of asset management. Our presentation will highlight how we have used the data collected to optimize our routine cleaning schedules, reducing unnecessary tasks and saving money. This method could also be useful to municipalities that are conducting surveys of their system by presenting the benefits of collecting baseline acoustic scores of known clean and well-functioning sewer mains to be referenced against future acoustic inspections. Recording and referencing a baseline acoustic score increases confidence in future acoustic inspections while reducing the need for more costly traditional CCTV. Status of Completion: The City of Kingsport started work to optimize its cleaning schedule towards the end of 2015. The most recent evolution of this program utilizing acoustic inspection began in 2022. While we have already made operational changes based on the acoustic inspection data, we are still continuing to use the same methodology to determine the true needed cleaning frequency for many of the sewer mains on our schedules. Conclusion: Since beginning to optimize our routine sewer cleaning program we have reduced our task burden by 463 tasks annually. By incorporating acoustic inspections we developed an objective framework to justify further reducing the frequency of cleaning certain pipes. To date, we have reduced the cleaning frequency of 97% of our quarterly schedule and 90% of our bi-annual schedule after they showed no significant degradation in acoustic score when re-inspected at their original cleaning intervals, post initial assessment. To date, this reduction in cleaning has not resulted in a sanitary sewer overflow. We are continuing to monitor these pipes to determine what cleaning frequency they require. The presentation will also include up to date numbers for cost, labor hours, and task savings on both an annual basis and since project conception as well as discuss challenges and hiccups we faced while implementing the project.