Sewer Acoustic Inspection & Pipeline Condition Assessment

At SUEZ, we believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s why we’re always looking for ways to prolong the life of our customers’ assets and improve their service experience with additions and improvements to our acoustic inspection and pipeline technologies.

Many customer assets—particularly sewer and stormwater collection systems—are buried and out of site. For many utilities, that makes it difficult to perform pipe condition assessments. But not for SUEZ. That’s because our acoustic inspection technologies can detect sewer and stormwater collection system blockages in real-time before they cause overflows.

Sewer Acoustic & Pipeline Condition Assessment

3 Key Benefits of Acoustic Sewer Inspection

  • Prioritizes Pipe Cleaning: Pipe sections get clogged without uniformity. Acoustic visualization lets operators attack the worst blocks first.
  • Reduces Sewer Line Blockages and Overflows: Rather than wait for an emergency, sewer line inspections help operators take preventative action.
  • Reduces Costs: Planned, non-emergency work is just more cost-effective.


Typically, sewer pipes—particularly older pipes found in older cities—become blocked over time as tree roots break through the walls of the pipes, and as trash, detergents, fats, oils and grease in wastewater and storm drains accumulate.

Using acoustic resonance technology, SUEZ can assess and prioritize lines that need maintenance throughout the collection system. This allows SUEZ to pinpoint where problems are and where they are likely to occur. That means rather than blindly inspecting mile after mile of perfectly good lines, we can dispatch our service crews when and where they are needed most.


The results have been outstanding. In Bayonne, NJ, SUEZ reduced sewer blockages by 70% from 56 to 17 over one year. In Nassau County, NY where SUEZ manages the county’s 3,000-mile collection system, the results have been just as striking: 71% reduction in sewer blockages in the first five years of SUEZ’ acoustic inspection technology campaign.

How does SUEZ' Acoustic Inspection Technology work?

Use existing geographic information system (GIS) data.

Before the acoustic inspection begins, it is recommended that geospatial data be acquired from the city or town where work is being conducted. Acoustic resonance inspections can be performed without mapping software, but it is more efficient to schedule daily inspections, and collect and manage data during the inspection process using GIS.


At the start of the acoustic inspection, a transmitter is lowered through an open manhole cover.

Once inside the sewer line, it emits a specific acoustic signal that is captured by a receiver at the next manhole. Based on preset algorithms, the percent of received signal estimates the condition of the pipe segment and gives a score from 0 (totally blocked) to 10 (like new condition).


Data are gathered from the acoustic devices after the inspection is completed and uploaded into the GIS.

If needed, SUEZ can also build a GIS layer using the data collected by the acoustic inspection, that can be accessed and updated as areas are cleaned, repaired or both.


After acoustic and visual inspections are completed, SUEZ builds a list, prioritizing pipe segments.

The results obtained during the acoustic inspections are only as good as you make of them. SUEZ developed a comprehensive score management approach that clearly defines each action that needs to be carried out for each score obtained and each situation encountered.


To learn more about our acoustic pipeline inspection technology and services, contact a representative.