Town looks to make use of new sewer cams

Strasburg town officials have a new sewer line camera system that will help it monitor the town lines for potential leaks and fixes.

At a council work session on Monday, Jay McKinley, acting town manager and director of public works, showcased some findings that the new tethered camera system picked up.

McKinley said the video evidence showed leaks the town did not know about as well as grease build-up in certain portions of the lines.

“We actually found a water line that was leaking into the sewer line,” McKinley said. “If we hadn’t of found that with the camera, that’s an extra 400,000 gallons of water that was being lost in the water plant.”

For example, in finding and repairing leaks like this, McKinley said the town has already “saved enough money to pay for the equipment” and helped make that water available for the treatment plant.

McKinley said the town spent “about $74,000” on the new system that will help “reduce operational costs” moving forward.

He said that larger localities have been taking advantage of systems like this for years, and that the town is taking advantage of a commonplace technology.

The system that Strasburg purchased will give it a monitoring range of 600 to 1,000 feet from where the mount is set up. This will allow the town to look into the sewer lines and spot problems that it otherwise would not be aware of.

The town has been looking at fixes to its infrastructure system for quite a while and, with this latest piece of hardware, McKinley indicated that it will be a big help to the town.

“I don’t really want to focus on how bad the system is,” McKinley said. “To me the issue is that we were given the proper tool to do a job, and now we’re doing it.”

With the grease build-up, McKinley said that it is a big problem that can affect both the sewer main as well as the sewer lateral lines.

“When residents dump that grease down their sink, it’ll clog up the laterals just as much as the mains,” McKinley explained. “If it’s on their property, they have to pay to dig it up.”

At the moment, he said that the town is planning outreach to residents and provide information on grease disposal and the effects of grease in the system.

Although McKinley noted that the town will never have a perfect infrastructure, he said the system will help the town reduce some of the issues it is facing.

The technology can also be used to analyze the health of new sewer lines that the town could take in from future projects. McKinley said this will save the town even more money.

“If we accept these systems broken … we have to come back in, find that [problem] and correct it at our cost,” McKinley said.

For the water lines, McKinley said that he would “hopefully” like to purchase equipment that would allow the town to better pinpoint water leaks.

The only way the town can find water leaks at the moment is when they surface. “That technology will actually let us know about underground leaks that have not surfaced, so that we can go after those,” he said.

“It’s a costly technology, and it’ll probably be a year or two before we can afford that,” McKinley said.

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or