GPRS video inspection services

Underground Insight – Sewer Inspection Case Study at Discount Drug Mart

At first glance, the VPI (Video Pipe Inspection) Division at Ground Penetrating Radar Systems (GPRS) may look like just another CCTV Sewer Inspection company composed of workers who study sewer through the lenses of cameras crawling or being pushed through pipes.

At second glance, you’d notice that the VPI Division of GPRS – a company known for its core services of utility locating, concrete scanning, and subsurface mapping – is composed of 35 project managers deployed throughout the United States to equip customers nationwide with accurately mapped and modeled sewer and storm lines.

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Who are these customers? GPRS Video Pipe Inspection service line leader Kyle Humphreys, shares that sewer inspection clients are divided between utility contractors and municipalities, with. “The majority of our jobs being the inspection of sewer and storm sewer systems,” he says.

One example of these customers is Kristy Carter, assistant project manager at Medina, Ohio-based Discount Drug Mart. The business contacted GPRS in December 2021 in need of sewer inspection and mapping services due to their inability to locate which sewer lines fed into a building they recently purchased and were looking to renovate in Norwalk, Ohio.

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GPRS screenshot
GPRS delivers NASSCO Certified reports to the customer via WinCan Web. Here is a sample report from a project in New Mexico. 

The Task 

Map out subsurface sewer lines and discover which lines feed into the newly purchased building for planning stages before new construction (remediation and renovation) occurs.

GPRS senior project manager of VPI Andy Jurski, moved into action. Jurski is a seasoned VPI technician with more than six years of experience in the field. He shared that an old grocery store had been on the site prior to Discount Drug Mart’s purchase and that “the customer knew that there were sewer lines throughout the property, but they did not know where everything was located and what lines fed into the building.”

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With the limited information available, the customer used a jetting company – jetting is a method of cleaning out sewers and drain lines using high-pressure water streams through specialized nozzles to clear obstructions – to clear the 20 to 30 access points to the sanitary sewer and storm sewer lines. Once finished, Jurski moved in with the Envirosight ROVVER X robotic and lateral launch unit to discover, inspect and map the property’s entire sewer system. Jurski was able to track and map the location of the lines due to the sonde – the self-contained transmitter used with cable and pipe locators – attached to the ROVVER X’s camera head. The sonde sends a frequency to the surface that GPRS project managers can track using an EM Utility Locator from Vivax Metrotech.

An Unexpected Discovery

To Discount Drug Mart’s surprise, Jurski and his crew discovered a grease trap left underground by the grocery store that previously occupied the property. Once it was recognized, Jurski was able to identify and differentiate all the lines going to and from the grease trap from the lines going to the sanitary sewer.

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After this portion of the job was complete, sanitary and storm pipes in the parking lot and lawn were inspected and mapped by Jurski until he observed a connection to the main city lines. While locating the subsurface assets outside, he discovered that one of the brand-new PVC pipes had broken. After marking the location of the broken pipe, he found other issues within the lines that the customer would never have known about had they not gotten them inspected.

GPRS video inspection services
A GPRS employee scans the site with the 3D Matterport Pro 3 to render a 3D model of the project site for the customer. 

Sewer Inspection Reports Delivered

Throughout the inspection, GPRS provided the customer with real-time data and in-depth reporting on all lines on the property via WinCan Web, a cloud-based platform that enables users to assign work and share inspections securely across all teams nationwide. This software gave Jurski live feedback throughout the examination and equipped him to upload the entire project file with the click of a button.

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All VPI project managers and reports are National Association of Sewer Service Companies (NASSCO) certified. NASSCO is the organization leading the charge in providing quality education for pipeline condition assessment and inspection nationwide.

These NASSCO certified reports include details such as which pipe was being examined at the time, whether the line was upstream or downstream, total length of the pipe being examined and the opportunity to click on each pipe segment, with a correlating video of the inspection of that pipe popping up for the customer to view and play through. An inspection gallery of every pipe defect GPRS located is available via both cloud-based and PDF versions for customers to keep after the inspection is completed.
“We pride ourselves in having happy customers,” Humphreys said.

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Getting the right data into the right hands is essential for all GPRS’ client relationships, as it lets customers know that the data they receive is accurate, accessible and dependable.

3D Maps and Models

After the lines were located, those ran underneath the building were marked above ground using colored tape to represent their varying purposes. Once completely marked out, a 3D Matterport Pro 3, that employs both LiDAR and a camera, was brought in to scan and pick up all markings made above ground with tape and paint.

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“We located where our camera was at all times with the tape markings on the floor, and we utilized the 3D camera inside to pick up where all the tape was for the lines,” Jurski said.

The 3D Matterport Pro 3 allows users to create virtual 3D models, point clouds, layouts, and floorplans of physical spaces, with the ability to edit and share them using the Matterport app and digital twin technology cloud service.

From the 3D imaging provided by the 3D Matterport Pro 3, GPRS’ Mapping & Modeling Team created CAD drawings of the subsurface to provide maps and models to Carter and Discount Drug Mart.

“The information we received from GPRS was more than we anticipated and more detailed and in-depth than we had ever expected to see,” Carter said.

Seeing the Benefits

Discount Drug Mart benefited in many ways from this sewer inspection. Provided with in-depth reports and accurately mapped files of their entire sewer system (including the previously unknown grease trap), Carter and her team were able to move forward with construction with limited reworks and project delays due to the information provided to them by the GPRS Video Pipe Inspection team.

Christian Wagenhauser is a marketing associate for GPRS.

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