How Laser Scan Technology Enhances Small-Diameter Sewer Pipe Inspections

How Laser Scan Technology Enhances Small-Diameter Sewer Pipe Inspections

Laser in sewer

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Small diameter sewer pipes can be challenging to inspect and diagnose for issues due to their size and accessibility. The emergence of laser scan technology has provided an innovative solution for inspecting small diameter sewer pipes where CCTV inspections methods are not a viable solution. 

What is it?

Laser scan technology uses a centrally placed rotating laser to create a digital 360-degree image of the pipe interior, providing accurate and detailed information about the structure and condition of the pipe. This method is suitable for pipes with diameters as small as 2 inches, making it an ideal solution for inspecting small diameter sewer pipes. Small diameter sewer pipes make up much of the network ( 

How it works ?

The laser scan technology works by emitting a laser beam that rotates within the pipe. As the laser rotates, it captures millions of data points that are used to create a 3D image of the pipe’s interior. The resulting image is highly detailed and provides engineers with information on the pipe’s size, shape, and any defects or obstructions. 

Benefits of laser scan technology

One of the significant benefits of using laser scan technology for small diameter sewer pipes is the non-invasive nature of the inspection. Traditional inspection methods often involve excavating the area around the pipe to access it. However, laser scanning can be performed with minimal disruption to the surrounding area, reducing the impact on communities and businesses. 

Additionally, laser scan technology provides a more comprehensive view of the pipe’s interior compared to traditional methods. The highly detailed 3D images generated by laser scanning can identify defects and obstructions that may not be visible through CCTV inspection. 

In general, in the construction industry, laser scanning has been shown to reduce construction time by up to 50%, according to a report by Trimble. This is due to the highly accurate and detailed information provided by laser scanning, which allows for better planning and coordination during the construction process. 

Challenges of laser scan technology

Despite its benefits, laser scan technology for small diameter sewer pipes still faces challenges. The technology is expensive and requires specialized equipment and trained personnel to operate. The accuracy of the scan is also dependent on factors such as the condition of the pipe and the presence of debris, which can affect the quality of the resulting image. Additionally, interpretation of the data requires skilled engineers, and the high-resolution data generated by the laser scans can lead to large data files that require significant storage and processing power. 

Advancement in the technology

Laser scanning technology is an exciting space and has made significant advancements in recent years, particularly in the inspection and assessment of sewer pipes. One of the key benefits of laser scanning is that it is a non-destructive testing method, meaning it does not require physical alterations to the pipe or surrounding environment. Additionally, portable devices have been developed, enabling inspections of previously inaccessible areas.

Automated analysis using machine learning and artificial intelligence is another benefit, which has enabled the development of software that can identify and classify defects. Finally, real-time data capture provides immediate analysis and decision-making, resulting in more accurate and efficient pipe inspections and maintenance practices. 


In conclusion, laser scan technology offers an innovative solution for inspecting small diameter sewer pipes. With its non-invasive nature and highly detailed 3D images, it provides engineers with accurate and comprehensive information on the condition of the pipes. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we inspect and maintain small diameter sewer pipes. 

About the Author

Amanda Siqueira is an Australian civil and environmental engineer who has worked in design, construction and remediation of drainage and sewer pipes in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. She has passion for all things pipes and is also one of the Co-founders of VAPAR.


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