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WMA to Unleash Robots on District's Aging Sewers

June 29, 2006 — The recent arrival of a closed-circuit television (CCTV) van will help the V.I. Waste Management Authority prevent sewage overflows and backups in the St. Thomas/St. John district, according to May Adams Cornwall, the authority's executive director.
Fully loaded with state-of-the-art equipment, the van utilizes remote-controlled robots armed with cameras to monitor pipeline and manhole conditions.
By placing the robots into the sewer lines, the van will be able to identify problem areas and begin repairs before a backup occurs.
Cornwall says many of the lines and manholes in the system are aged as a result of settlement of solids caused by low flows.
Since 2003 the equipment has realized a cost savings of $300,000 in St. Croix, and Cornwall projects the same savings for St. Thomas/St. John.
In related news, Cornwall said the authority has contracted with HTA Caribbean and A&W Maintenance to clean, reinforce and coat the manhole adjacent to the Cancryn Pump Station. Engineers completed the placement of reinforcing steel bars and repaired all active leaks in the St. Thomas area within five days.
Wastewater personnel diverted the flows, power-washed the manhole walls and vacuumed sewage and debris to prepare the worksite and reduce contract costs.
According to Cornwall, approximately 50 percent of overflows and backups are a direct result of improper disposal of unauthorized materials into sewer lines by commercial establishments and the public. Cornwall said the authority acknowledges its responsibility to protect public health and the environment and will continue its efforts to educate the public about the rules and regulations for waste disposal.
The general public is usually unaware of problems facing the territory's sewage until backups occur, Cornwall said.
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