Sewer Acoustic Inspection

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

Wastewater collection systems are buried and out of sight. For many utilities, it can be difficult to get a clear picture of pipe condition. But not for SUEZ. Our acoustic inspection technologies can detect sewer blockages in real time before they cause overflows.

Sewer Acoustic & Pipeline Condition Assessment

3 Key Benefits of Sewer Acoustic 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, and as trash, detergents, fats, oils and grease accumulate.

Using acoustic inspection, SUEZ can assess and prioritize lines that need maintenance pinpointing where problems are and where they are likely to occur. Rather than blindly cleaning 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 in 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 campaign.

How does SUEZ' Acoustic Inspection 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 inspection 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.


A transmitter is setup in a manhole and sends an acoustic signal through the line, which 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).


At the end of the inspection day, data is gathered from the acoustic devices and uploaded into the GIS already in use or into sewer data-management applications.

SUEZ can also build a GIS layer using the data collected by the inspection, which 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 that need to be cleared of roots, grease and debris, or repaired.

The results obtained during the inspections are only as good as acted upon. SUEZ develops a comprehensive score management approach, clearly defining each action that needs to be carried out for each score obtained and each situation encountered.

Your city and ratepayers deserve a reliable collection system with fewer blockages, overflows and disruptions. SUEZ is committed to deploying the most efficient tools to make your infrastructure more resilient and therefore more affordable to your customers.


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