Behind the Tap Series:
Ever wanted to get paid to play video games for a living? Well, the water industry has just the job for you. Meet CCWA Closed Circuit Televising (CCTV) Crew Leader Rob Christian, Technician Mike Shelton and Technician Corey Binion. The guys work in our Distribution & Conveyance department televising sewer pipeline throughout Clayton County looking for damages or obstructions and to find customer connections or missing manholes.
How they do this is what’s cool. They lower a camera that is attached to the truck by a cable that is up to 1,000’ in length. Once the camera is lowered and the computer is set up to take the information and video from the camera, they use what looks like a PlayStation controller to make the camera drive forward and backwards. They can also control the way the camera pans and tilts and zoom in or out.
Of course, it isn’t all fun and games. They also set up the equipment making sure everything functions properly, getting the proper footage of every pipe they inspect and cleaning the equipment after each use (remember…it’s been in a sewer pipe).
CCWA has two different CCTV crews, one unit is set up in a truck that televises sewer pipes in the road or right along the roadside, like the one the guys use. The other unit utilizes an ATV to televise because they are working on the major sewer outfalls that are in the woods.
Their biggest challenges inside the pipe are grease and roots. You often hear us talk about Fats, Oils and Greases (F.O.G.) and the damaging effects they have on sewer pipes. These guys see the damage firsthand. “It hurts us both,” says Corey. Outside the pipe, its traffic and weather. Whether it is bitterly cold or blazing hot, it is crucial that crews are in the field televising lines. As for traffic dangers, we ask that you always slow down when driving past any crews working in or along the roadside.
They all like different aspects of their job. “What I like about my job is that it’s like playing a real-life video game. I also like how every pipe is different, and we never know what to expect as we are doing our observations,” says Rob. For Mike, it is finding ‘problems throughout the county that we can fix to keep the sewer system flowing.’ And Corey loves the fact that ‘we are an asset to the other crews, given that they need us just as much as we need them. We also get to utilize good technology.’
The guys also serve as CCWA Ambassadors at Clayton County Public School Career Day events and most recently at our Model Water Tower Competition in October. They show students how technology is used in their jobs and educate on proper disposal of F.O.G. “We would like to remind customers to never pour F.O.G. down the drain, and remember the 3 P’s (paper, pee, & poo). Those are the only things you should be flushing!” #waterprofessionals