Community Spotlight: Oakland, Maine Short Term SL-RAT Subscription Program
Acoustic Sewer Inspection Saves Oakland Maine Time and Money
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The Town of Oakland, Maine has approximately 11.6 miles of gravity sewer piping, 52% of which is newer PVC pipe, with the remainder including a mix of clay, transite and fiberglass pipe. With only 800 mostly residential customers, and limited budget for maintenance, the Town needed a means to prioritize the cleaning and CCTV inspection of the collection system piping. Historically, the Town could only budget for 1 mile of cleaning and CCTV inspection at best. Since they do not own their own equipment, they must hire out all work, at great expense.
The town contacted InfoSense—manufacturer of the Sewer Line Rapid Assessment Tool (SL-RAT®)—to help solve this problem. The SL-RAT is a patented, highly portable assessment tool that utilizes transmissive acoustics to safely provide a very fast understanding of sewer blockage conditions at a cost of less than 1/10th of alternatives. Using the SL-RAT, a two-man crew inspected their entire gravity collection system in a few weeks. This created a color-coded map of which specific segments needed further evaluation. They used this data to identify pipes that need cleaning and further CCTV inspection.
The SL-RAT program yielded two benefits. First, the inspection data showed that a small percentage – 15% – of pipes required follow up action. This helped Oakland meet their insurance due diligence requirements and direct their CCTV and cleaning resources to the correct pipe segments. Second, after completing a follow-up screening the next year, town management identified underlying larger pipe defects—such as root growth—that had caused certain segments to become rapidly clogged—even after a recent cleaning. Coupling these two benefits, the SL-RAT inspection program has realized over $51,000 in crew labor and financial savings, while reducing the risk of further sanitary sewer maintenance issues, sanitary sewer overflows, and customer backups. The use of the SL-RAT has provided the town with a reliable, rapid, low cost method to assess their current collection system, and provide peace of mind that the system is functioning properly.