El Paso

El Paso Water uses robot to inspect large water mains for breaks

Robot helps El Paso Water look for cracks in water mains

EL PASO, Texas - El Paso Water Utilities is getting help from a small robot known as the G3.

The 240-pound robotic crawler is equipped with several sensors, and is sent down into large water pipes to inspect for any breaks or issues.

"What this does is basically tell El Paso Water where we can go and take out or remove sections of the pipe, as opposed to replacing the entire pipe which can be very costly," said Angel Bustamante, who works with El Paso Water's operations team.

This is the third year El Paso Water has used this technology.

"Anytime we have a main breaks, what happens is there's a lot of collateral damage. We have to shut down the street -- people get upset," Bustamante said. "What this allows us to do is to go in, and replace the pipe before that happens."

El Paso Water rents out the robot from Pure Technologies, a tech company based out of Calgary, Canada.

"The robot is used for five days while it's here on site. This crew is mobile and they go to different parts of the country," Bustamante said. 

Currently, the G3 is inspecting an eight-mile section of El Paso.

"A few years back what we did was analyze the entire length of the cross-city feeder [water] main, and we determined that there were only certain sections that were given higher priority. Those sections that had higher priority, this is where we're sending the robot," Bustamante said. 

The robot is controlled by a member of the crew using a video game controller. 

"We're really proud of the fact that we can bring in a contractor that has this level of specialty, and bring in that state-of-the-art technology to El Paso," Bustamante said. 

Tune in to ABC-7 at 6 to see the G3 Robot in action

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