NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The city will soon have a new tool in its efforts to keep sewer lines flowing.

The City Council unanimously approved a resolution recently allowing the Department of Public Works to purchase a sewer surveillance camera with accessories.

Resolution 032022 allows for the purchase of the camera. The price is not to exceed $120,246.95.

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Thomas Valenti, head of the city’s Department of Public Works and Engineering departments, called it a “dynamic diagnostic tool for us to discern the quality of the sewer system.”

Valenti explained that the camera is attached to wheels. It is deployed into the pipes and is tethered to the user. The user has a video screen that allows for a view inside, recording as it creeps along. The camera can stop and also tilt to the sides to give a panoramic view.

He said it will allow for more efficient and, most likely, cheaper repairs because it directs workers to within a foot of, say, a blockage or a cracked pipe. So rather than ripping up an entire street to find the issue, workers can hone in on one specific area.

Or it can be used in a preventive manner, to inspect pipes that might be on the verge of failing.

He said the camera comes with various wheels depending on the conditions and types of pipes. For instance, some wheels are specifically made for pipes where grease is an issue.

There’s apparently a subterranean labyrinth of pipes, crisscrossing the ground under our feet. Valenti said some of the pipes are a minimum of four feet into the ground, while others some have settled much further into the earth.

Some of the pipes in the city could be as old as 100 years, he said.

And while this sort of technology has been employed by municipalities for decades, Valenti said, this is the first time New Brunswick has had its own sewer surveillance camera. Until getting its own, the city often borrowed North Brunswick’s camera.