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Wednesday, February 27, 2019
UAS Technology at Columbus Water Works (CWW)
UAV PlantOur New Unmanned Aircraft System
Columbus Water Works (CWW) has recently launched a new program designed to improve efficiency, crew safety, and infrastructure maintenance.  This new UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) program will be used for leak detection, routine facility inspections, time-lapse photography and more. 

Over recent years, our industry has had dramatic advances in UAS technology.  CWW performed an evaluation of the benefits and requirements of this technology before joining the elite group of utilities across the country that are currently using UAS programs to improve their operations.

Step One
The first step was to determine the benefits.  Through this evaluation, we identified several beneficial applications for the UAS.  One example is facility and infrastructure inspections.  With the launch of the UAS program the need to climb tanks for routine inspections will be minimal.  One routine inspection that once took hours, now takes less than 30 minutes to accomplish, with no one ever leaving the ground. Minimizing staff exposure to potential risks is a large benefit to CWW.  Using a UAS for the inspection also provides a digital record of each inspection. Condition information from the inspections help prioritize repair and maintenance tasks.  After evaluating the benefits, we concluded that this is a valuable addition to our operations.

Step Two
The next step was to ensure we met all the requirements of using the UAS technology.  Companies with a UAS program are required to have certified pilots to fly the UAS and may need to acquire permission for various fly zones.  CWW identified two (2) staff members to complete the rigorous Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) UASuav d pilot program and pass the FAA Part 107 pilot exam.  This process includes thorough understanding of FAA regulations, local and federal privacy laws and operation of the UAS.  In addition to the FAA requirements, CWW has implemented additional protocols within the program.

Now that the evaluation of program benefits and regulatory requirements has been completed, you may see our FAA certified UAS pilots around town working on projects.  Our employees will have their Photo ID badge and a copy of their certification paperwork with them.  If you have additional questions about this program, please email UAVP@cwwga.org.

For additional information about CWW’s UAS Program or if you have any comments or concerns, please contact Victoria Barrett at vbarrett@cwwga.org or 706-649-3476.

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