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The City of Cedar Rapids Use Robot to Inspect Water Tank

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--For the first time, the city of Cedar Rapids is using a robot to check your drinking water.

The robot is a remote operated vehicle or ROV and was purchased to save taxpayers' money.

“It's got propellers, able to go up, down, left, right, backwards and then we got a camera upfront that's able to be moved up and down, said Kyle Lay of Dixon Engineering.

It's a little guy with a big job. The city painted the inside of their water tank back in 2010 to keep it from rusting.

Now the warranty is about to expire, so the city needs to inspect it.

"The previous method was you have to send a crew up to the top with a raft and they get on the raft and float down and paddle around as they go,” said the city’s Communications and Education Coordinator Megan Murphy.

With the submersible robot, one person climbs to the top of the tank and simply drops the robot with its attached video cable into the water as a technician down below watches everything on a monitor.

"Here we have a video, we have a record of it and it's less time intensive and less money intensive,” Murphy said.

With the robot they can also check the paint job inside the tank without having to drain all that water.

It's a time saver because the older method required the tank to be offline for five to seven days.

This new way of inspecting the tank allows it to be brought be back online within 24 hours.

Using the robot costs the city about $3,000 a tank which is about half what the old inspection process used to cost.

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