By Vinde Wells
Mt. Morris’ new camera system for viewing the inside of sewer mains may have already paid for itself.
Village trustee Jeff Pennington, who is chairman of the Water & Sewer Committee, told the board Oct. 10 that the camera recently revealed a natural gas line running through the sewer main on West Sixth Street.
He said a village employee televising the main alerted him to the potentially dangerous situation as soon as it was discovered.
“If we had run the root-cutter through there, it would have cut the gas line and filled the sewer main with gas,” he said.
Nicor Gas has also been notified, he said.
At Pennington’s urging, the board agreed in late July to spend up to $35,000 for the camera system.
The camera rotates 360 degrees for a full view of the mains. The inside of the mains can be viewed on a screen as the camera passes through, and videos can be made for future reference.
Because some mains are aging, repairs are becoming more frequent and costly, Pennington said then.
Some problems could be prevented because televising will reveal breaks or sags in the mains, and when problems do occur, the camera will help diagnose and locate them.
The board also got a chance to see exactly at how the camera works at last week’s meeting when Pennington showed them a video just taken on West Sunset Lane.
The video showed tree roots growing into the main, as well as spots where the main is sagging, and pinpointed the exact location of the each problem.
Pennington said village employees have begun the process of televising all the mains in the village.
In another matter, Pennington asked the board for the go-ahead to fix a water line leak under the railroad tracks by the Kable News building on Hitt Street.
He had already secured bids from a Davis company that has the equipment to bore under the tracks instead of digging them up.
The least expensive option is estimated at $6,180. Two other options could double or even triple the cost.
Board members agreed that Pennington should pursue the least expensive option, and get started on the work as soon as possible.
Finance Committee chairman Phil Labash said only $4,000 remains in the budget for water system repairs, but said the remainder could come from other Water Department funds.
Pennington said he will have a better idea of the magnitude of the needed repairs once the project is underway.