Sewer flooding incidents in the UK are being increasingly associated with the presence of blockages. Blockages are difficult to deal with as although there are locations where they are more likely to occur, they do occur intermittently. In order to manage sewer blockage pro-actively sewer managers need to be able to identify the location of blockages promptly. Traditional closed-circuit television (CCTV) inspection technologies are slow and relatively expensive so are not well suited to the rapid inspection of a network. This is needed if managers are to be able to address sewer blockages pro-actively. This paper reports on the development of an acoustic-based sensor. The sensor was tested in a full scale sewer pipe in the laboratory and it was shown that it is able to find blockages and identify structural aspects of a sewer pipe such as a manhole and lateral connection. Analysis of the received signal will locate a blockage and also provide information on its character. The measurement is very rapid and objective and so inspections can be carried out at much faster rates than using existing CCTV technologies.
Keywords: acoustic intensity, acoustic response, inspection, pipe defect, sewer blockage