Sewage systems are crucial to reduce the risks of water borne diseases and avoid flooding of cities. Cleaning processes are thus highly important to avoid health risks and environmental, economic and societal impacts which can be caused by damaged or blocked sewerage. European sewage networks are operated by over 20,000 municipalities and public entities which spend over €6.5 billion annually to clean and maintain over 2.25 million km of pipes that are constantly deteriorating. Over 10,000 SMEs are employed by network operators to keep the sewerage clean and operable. Recent budget cuts and the implementation of the water framework directive (2000/60 EC) that requires new measures for more efficient use of water resources have put pressure on municipalities and therefore on the service providing SMEs in the cleaning business in order to save water resources and find cheaper ways of maintaining efficient sewage networks. Current systems for sewer cleaning are highly inefficient. During the cleaning process, high amounts of water are used to clean the pipes regardless of the real cleaning demands. Hence, there is a high need to develop a system integrating a reliable inspection tool which efficiently varies the cleaning process according to the real demand. The PIPEGUARD system will consist of an ultrasonic inspection system, which will detect the degree of pollution and damages. The data captured will be used to adjust the cleaning through algorithms. After cleaning, the system will keep a record that will provide a reliable cleaning audit trail. Further, PIPEGUARD will monitor with inertial sensors the system position in real-time in order to obtain reliable position mapping for the creation of network maps. The solution will not only cut costs for cities due to the use of an integrated system which will eliminate various inspection and cleaning steps, it will also save ca. 35% of cleaning costs due to reduced fresh water usage thanks to the on-demand cleaning.
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