Oregon Sewer District Improves Inspection Efficiency with R.S. Technical Equipment

Downtime with old equipment affected Rogue Valley Sewer Services’ ability to inspect its 410-mile system.

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Rogue Valley Sewer Services (RVSS), the special district charged with sanitary and stormwater management in the mostly rural area from Shady Cove to North Ashland in the Rogue River Valley of southern Oregon, serves 77,000 customers through 410 miles of pipe — 90 percent sanitary and the rest stormwater lines — 35 pump stations, 8,000 manholes, two solid wastewater lagoons, and the operation of the Shady Cove Wastewater Treatment Plant. Monthly flows average 500 million gallons.

The Operations and Maintenance Department of RVSS routinely completes video inspection of its entire pipe system every five years and cleans the entire system every three years. That has helped RVSS keep repair costs down and maintain a lower-than-average monthly service fee for ratepayers. In fiscal year 2015-16, the monthly residential service fee was $18.30, one of the lowest in the state.

To maintain this efficiency, RVSS generally cycles out CCTV video inspection rigs every 10 to 15 years.

“We like to be sure we’re putting the latest and greatest equipment to work for our ratepayers, so we’re being as efficient as possible,” says RVSS CCTV crew leader Kevan Kerby. “This keeps maintenance costs and downtime reasonable.”

When the time came last year to replace current technology, the RVSS team took a hard look at its options. Crews had been working out of two CCTV trucks. The older system, purchased from R.S. Technical in 2004, was known as “Old Reliable” because the single-conductor technology had never given crews problems. It was a Ford E450 chassis with a 16-foot box, equipped with an RST mainline tractor and OMNI II camera and POSM inspection software on a Windows computer system. The newer system from a different manufacturer was a GMC chassis with a 17-foot box, outfitted with a multi-conductor mainline system for 8- to 24-inch pipe, another system for 6- to 10-inch pipe, a lateral launching system for 8- to 24-inch pipe, and WinCan inspection software package. Unlike “Old Reliable” though, it gave crews trouble from the beginning.

“Right out of the gate, one of the main boards failed,” Kerby says. “We’d only get about a month out of the power and control cable, which cost $250. We were making so many repairs, I finally designed a guard to keep it working for 18 months.”

So when it was time for the normal cycling out of equipment, Kerby longed to be able to feel confidence about both CCTV inspection vehicles.

“We run them all day long, every day with two-person crews, so it’s important that they just work,” says Kerby. “We realized the truck chassis were perfectly good, and only had about 40,000 miles on them.”

He approached R.S. Technical Regional Sales Manager Sheldon Teeples about crunching some numbers that would allow Rogue Valley to save the chassis and simply retrofit the boxes with upgraded CCTV equipment.

“They’re laid out a little different (than they were), but they operate roughly the same … and no one else could touch the price we got from R.S. Technical. Plus, we love the single-conductor cable. Damage that cable, you’re only out for 20 to 30 minutes, then back up and running.”

Both chassis were completely stripped down and refitted with new cabinetry, new cables, controllers and monitors. Replacement equipment in both trucks included an RST Mainline & Lateral Inspection System for inspecting 6- to 24-inch mains and 4- to 8-inch laterals; a TranSTAR transporter with TrakSTAR camera for inspecting 6- to 30-inch mains; PipeTech video inspection software and Windows computers. When the project was finished, everything was new except the sinks and wash-down systems.

Kerby is happy with how the process went.

“It worked out real well for us to retrofit the trucks instead of buying all new ones. The equipment we took out we sold to a dealer, who sold it to a private company to replace existing equipment, which was a great reuse. He has lots of parts and knows what to expect from that manufacturer. And we saved a ton of money going with R.S. Technical, essentially getting two whole new trucks for just over the price of one. We couldn’t be happier.”

RVSS reports that it now produces a lot more footage than it ever did before because of the reliability of both trucks.

“We’ve had a couple little glitches, but R.S. Technical has been great about getting us up and running,” Kerby says. “Most of what went wrong was on our end: We dropped one of our cameras and broke it, and they were quick to repair it. We damaged a couple launcher cables in learning how to use the lateral launch system properly.”

Tough job site conditions are merciless on equipment, and cables are often the first to show wear, but Kerby is impressed with the durability of the R.S. Technical single-conductor armored SinCon cable, with its 5,400-pound break strength and a five-year manufacturer’s warranty. He says he is also impressed with the lateral launch camera cable, saying that even when they do break, they’re field-repairable, ensuring minimal downtime and increased productivity.

“Our neighboring city of Medford has another CCTV supplier, and I’ve heard they can’t do the repair to a lateral launch cable like we can in the field. We’re very happy. It’s very strong, stout equipment.”


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