Things are cooling down for the holidays, and for many of us this includes the weather! RedZone is no stranger to cold-weather inspection; in many places, it’s best to inspect during freezing conditions as flows are at their annual lows. Whether you’re doing the work or have someone else providing a service, there are a few things that you should know.
Cold Weather Inspection Tips
Think about the following problems and ideas as you inspect your wastewater assets in the cold weather:
1. Fog in the pipe: When a manhole is opened, cold air mixes with the warm air in a sewer line and creates a fog that spreads with the air. The solution is to wait for the pipe to reach a stable temperature (which can take a while) or inspect with the manhole closed. (Hint: use an autonomous robot.)
2. Moisture on sensitive equipment: Cold equipment can create the same problem that cold air mixing with warm air does, i.e. moisture could form mists on lenses and sensors, ruining the data. The solution is to keep equipment in a warm place and deploy quickly (prevent the equipment from spending too much time in the cold air) or to warm the equipment while it’s outside. For example, we turn our robots’ lights on, which helps keep nearby lenses warm
3. Ice: Water is an unavoidable part of our industry! However, water can freeze on equipment once it leaves the pipe. It’s important to wipe things down if they are going to be stored outside. In sub-freezing conditions, we store our equipment in heated garages to prevent damage.
4. People: While freezing temperatures may sometimes be good for inspection, they are never much fun for people. Ensure that appropriate clothing is worn and that there is a warm shelter near the worksite. A popular method is to deploy four autonomous robots and then sip some hot chocolate in the car.