Binghamton Using Robots To Map Floodwalls


When the river gets too high, the conduit’s gate closes as to not allow more water in, but this doesn’t necessarily stop flooding. Ray Standish, Binghamton City Engineer, said these pipes can back up, and that’s what caused flooding on the East Side of Binghamton on Court Street. He hopes the issue will be addressed with a planned new pump station. Sarah Gager/WSKG News

VESTAL, NY (WSKG) — Video inspections of 45 pipes in Binghamton’s floodwalls are underway.

A robot with a camera attachment will travel through pipes and collect video. It’s similar to the Mars rover, but much smaller.

A camera collects video from inside the conduits that is time-stamped and distance-stamped. This makes it easy to know where in a pipe a repair is needed. Sarah Gager/WSKG News

Luke Morenus is Senior Managing Engineer with Barton & Loguidice, the firm conducting the inspections. He said the video will determine what action, if any, needs to be taken.

“There’s usually some minor repairs to be made, you know, repainting things, making sure the grates are straightened out, and the flaps close correctly and that kind of thing,” Morenus said. “But the video inspections will give us the information we need to make those recommendations.”

Barton & Loguidice is expected to release their recommendations in September.

The inspections are a step toward certifying the floodwalls so they are in compliance when the federal government updates its flood maps.

The Susquehanna River under the Court Street bridge in Binghamton. Sarah Gager/WSKG News

Binghamton Mayor Rich David said a certification means everything meets legal requirements for a floodwall or levee. If a floodwall does not meet those requirements, it would not be recognized on the maps.

“What that means is that, in the flood maps, it would basically view your community as not having a flood wall or a flood levee, and the impact of that would be your flood insurance for homes in those areas behind a floodwall or flood levee would skyrocket,” David explained.

David said he planned for this two years ago, and dog-eared $700,000 for the certification project.