SANATOGA PA – Down, down, down television cameras will again soon go, there to look for and broadcast the worst gunk and illegal material available to be seen within the borders of Lower Pottsgrove Township.
Another round of sewer inspections is approaching.
The township authority, which has responsibility for maintaining its sewer system, twice last week advertised for bidders to clean and conduct an internal televised inspection of about 17,000 feet of sanitary sewer pipe buried a few feet below local buildings, lawns and streets. Companies interested in the work (sure, it’s potentially dirty, but somebody makes a profit at it) are being asked to submit their estimates for the job’s cost by next Thursday (Aug. 9, 2012).
The pipes vary in width from 8 inches to 21 inches. To ensure they see all the nooks and crannies down below, work crews insert and snake video cameras along the length of each section being inspected. The authority wants assurance that their cleaning efforts were effective. They’ll also be looking for cracks, separations and other structural problems.
Little of what shows up on their screens is likely to be ready for prime time. Importantly, though, the authority will put the video footage to another use, too: it’s hunting for lawbreakers.
Lower Pottsgrove has for several years operated its sewers under a consent agreement with the state Department of Environmental Protection. The agency found not everything streaming through the pipes belonged there; some storm water, for instance, drained from rooftop rain gutters and sump pumps directly into the sewer, increasing the amount and cost of water to be treated. The agreement, until lifted, regulates the township’s ability to grow, residentially and commercially.
Video cameras help find those illegal tie-ins and other problems. In May, according to authority minutes, the township learned a similar series of inspections on pipe along Prospect Hill Lane and Rupert Road revealed several leaks that must be fixed.
The department is willing to release the township from the agreement, Bursich Associates’ engineer Chad Camburn told authority directors in June, but only after between 6 and 12 months worth of data proves that what are known as illegal inflows have stopped.
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