VAPAR – Automated CCTV defect identification

The Issue at Anglian Water

Anglian Water is a water utility that operates in the East of England, providing water and sewerage service to over 6 million people. With over 112,000 kilometers of water and sewer pipes to maintain, Anglian Water receives copious amounts of sewer network footage with only a small percentage capable of being reviewed on a regular basis. Anglian Water conducts systematic inspections of its sewerage mains via CCTV footage. The subsequent review of footage and condition assessment is undertaken manually by a third-party contractor, which historically has proven costly, resource-intensive, and time-consuming.

In consideration of this, Anglian Water sought an innovative solution that can automatically code and score assets and categorize this against the industry standard. This would reduce time spent on manual assessment and enhance the efficiency and reliability of the process.

The Solution

In response to WaterStart’s Request for Proposal, round 14, VAPAR was the selected Technology Provider for this Pilot. VAPAR is a cloud-based platform that automates standardized condition assessment directly from any standard pipe CCTV inspection video. VAPAR is powered by deep learning algorithms that have been trained on over 2 million pipe defect examples and can align these defects to a number of regional reporting guidelines. All of the platform’s results can be exported to open and readable formats (CSV, XML, PDF, etc.) for importing and further analysis. Learn more at

The Pilot

Over a 10-week period (September – November 2020), the VAPAR.Solutions platform remotely processed 10 km of sewer CCTV inspection footage obtained from Anglian Water.

Key objectives of this pilot were to:

  • Demonstrate the capability of the web platform software.
  • Increase the amount of CCTV footage we can assess• Prioritise maintenance schedules by highlighting critical assets • Reduce the ‘human’ factor to improve accuracy and efficiency

VAPAR.Solutions automatically digitized 2,215 pipe features and defects in one-fifth of the time, compared to the manual process. Deliverables were easily exported in CSV and PDF format with the possibility of importing the data into Anglian Water’s existing software for further analysis.

Pilot Results and Learnings

Measure 1: Accuracy

  • Solutions showed approximately 80% agreement between manual assessment and AI. An automated method to compare the manual and AI assessments were developed and will be trailed for the next phase of work. This assists the Anglian Water team streamline investigations of which codes came up differently in either assessment and maintains a high level of quality assurance.
  • The AI would be an effective tool to automatically de-prioritize videos from assets in good condition, reducing the auditing workload of footage that is defect-free.
  • From evaluating such measures in this pilot, the team learned that the accuracy of the system could be further evaluated once a defect and condition assessment benchmark was created independently to act as a reference point for the manual and AI assessments.

Measure 2: Workflow Efforts

  • When fully implemented as an auditing solution, VAPAR.Solutions showed the potential to decrease the auditing effort required by as much as 30% compared to the current auditing workload.

Measure 3: Asset renewal Optimisation

  • After verifying the results, VAPAR.Solutions achieved a higher level of consistency and standardization of defect coding and condition grading in comparison with manual methods. From the results, the impact of this standardization from the platform has the potential to optimize renewal spending by as much as 20% by deprioritizing or deferring certain inspections that do not require immediate remediation.

Further Adoption

This pilot directly contributed to Anglian Water’s Planned Preventative Maintenance by providing automated verification on which wastewater pipelines they repair.

Building on the success of this pilot, Anglian Water is now actively investigating new opportunities with VAPAR by providing the organization options for improved supply chain engagement. Specifically, implementing the automated verification process into the workflow and software ecosystem, providing a streamlined process for Anglian Water teams and their contractors.

Since the conclusion of the Pilot, VAPAR has expanded their offices from Australia to the United Kingdom to support the growing demand for their service.

Check out this clip from the CHANNELS Connect 2021 Dec webinar highlighting the VAPAR project at Anglian!


PIPE AI – AI for Pipeline Condition Assessment

The Issue at Unitywater

Unitywater is a south-east Queensland, Australian utility that supplies water and sewerage services to a population of approximately 791,000 residents across a 5,223km2 geographical spread. With over 12,000km of water and sewerage mains to manage and maintain at all times, Unitywater struggled to maintain consistency in the process of pipeline condition assessment, which had been performed manually for decades.

In the past, Unitywater trialed various solution sets to detect pipe anomalies although had not been successful. Historically, it was found that extracted analysis reports (data from WinCan) was not accurate and held inconsistencies from different operators.

In response to this issue, Unitywater wanted to apply standard rule sets on the classification and detection of anomalies using CCTV. Unitywater not only wanted to automate defect identification, but also the process for inspection prioritization and renewal prioritization.

The Solution

PIPE AI Pty Ltd is a registered Australian Proprietary Company, comprised of a partnership between PEAKURBAN and BlackbookAi.  The company provides a customizable toolkit that utilizes artificial intelligence to review CCTV footage of pipe conditions and checks for anomalies in the pipes including cracks, roots, blockages, etc.

The PIPE AI solution comprises of multiple components including predictive failure of Assets (PIPE AI – Predict) and inspection of footage for the identification of anomalies (PIPE AI – Review). This Pilot focused on using the Review product. PIPE AI can consistently review and identify the anomalies and output a detailed report of the defects. Once the process is completed, this output can be reviewed by staff who can make any changes to the defect classification (if required), to further improve the model’s detection rate over time.

The Pilot

The project was commissioned as an “open-ended pilot” which commenced in November 2019 and completed in March 2020, with ongoing activity.

The solution was deployed on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to rescan the video footage and classified faults consistently using AI, machine learning, and industry best practices. The pilot was delivered in two stages:

Phase 1 – Proof of Value, involving:

  • Building the AI toolset to automatically analyze CCTV footage and identify defects in line with the Industry standard Defect coding to assign a condition score for maintenance and renewal prioritization.
    • Testing the software to quantify the accuracy against previously manually scored videos to identify false positives and learnings.
    • Applying manual interventions to further improve the accuracy of the tool and enable accuracy levels above 95%.

Phase 2 – Operationalising, involving:

  • Front end software work.
  • Asset inspection prioritization module based on asset attributes and failure rate.
  • CCTV Analysis and reporting – AI.
  • Asset risk and investment prioritization.
  • Renewal and maintenance budgeting.
  • Formal reporting.

As more videos were consumed and faults identified and processed the AI capability increased its accuracy over the pilot term to achieve 100% accuracy based on report comparisons.

The Results

The pilot was deemed successful by Unitywater. PIPE AI was identified to be on a pathway to deliver a seamless service where defects are identified faster and with more accuracy than humans including:

  • Reduction in Adhoc CAPEX spending.
  • Potential for savings in Unitywater of up to 1 x FTE’s being reallocated to higher-value activities.
  • Potential to accelerate the process of data capture, resulting in a significant reduction in risk.
  • Enhanced consistency in interpretation and accuracy in data – more targeted renewals and reduce renewal spend.
  • Increased compliance in Development Services – where developers provide CCTV of their PVC pipes, Unitywater has greater compliance and ability to validate pipe configuration

Further Development

Unitywater is working with PipeAI to advance the technology to the next stage to create the solution as a corporate approach. Removal of the laptop and have appropriate specified and supported infrastructure.



PIPE AI offers an end-to-end solution for pipe condition management that is a game-changer for the industry. Powered by Artificial Intelligence, PIPE AI  informs your business of predictive failure works and schedule inspections by priority. Its platform automatically assesses CCTV footage to identify cracks and anomalies in pipes. Let PIPE AI do the tedious tasks so you can spend more time on high-value work.

Learn more about PipeAI:



InVizion- A Cost Effective Solution for Capital Improvement Planning

The Issue

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) sought to optimize and increase efficiency and accuracy of the budgeting and planning processes associated with their Capital Improvement Program (CIP).  They were seeking a user-friendly solution that could incorporate several historically disconnected enterprise systems, such as scheduling, reporting and analytics as well as allow for off-line manipulation of schedules to perform “what if” scenarios to reduce risks associated with costs and speed of delivery and ultimately minimize investment risks.

The Solution

By quickly combining budget data from disconnected enterprise systems, the InVizion software provides planners and analysts with an organization tool from which to start planning, tracking, forecasting, reporting, and conducting what-if and decision-making analyses- without manipulation of spreadsheets or cumbersome user-interfaces.

InVizion supports unlimited group category codes, user-defined fields, and resource categories, which can be used to map any number of hierarchies, coding, descriptions, cost, and units from your enterprise systems. InVizion’s implementation team includes subject matter experts who will customize and/or configure the groupings, user-defined fields, resources, milestones, etc. based on your integration requirements to leverage existing enterprise data at any level of detail.

The Pilot

MWD, with funding support from WaterStart, conducted a 90-day pilot of the InVizion solution to evaluate the software’s capability to quickly combine project data from obsolete and disconnected enterprise systems.

The pilot initiated with a discovery where InVizion consultant(s) performed a data gap analysis and mapping of existing data sources of CIP cost, schedule, grouping and prioritization rankings necessary to populate and use InVizion solution in a production cloud environment. This task included meetings with intended users of InVizion.  The required data from MWD’s internal spreadsheet was migrated to an InVizion database and a one-way data import from Oracle Primavera P6 was implemented to gather schedule, relationships, as well as actual and forecast-to-complete values from P6 resource cost assignments.  This data exchange was achieved by a custom import feature in the InVizion application.  InVizion was able to leverage existing data from Elist and P6 to provide a portfolio model by project and by phase.

The tasks associated with setting up the portfolio model and the actual software integration were completed in 90 days, allowing MWD to begin utilizing the software for CIP planning within one week after software completion.

The Results

MWD immediately discarded their Access database because InVizion can store MWD metadata for their over 400 active projects. Within one-month of deployment which included training, MWD users were proficient using the InVizion tool to create a 20-year capital spending outlook categorizing projects by type and priority, and are currently using that tool to work with the Office of the CFO to begin long-term financial planning.

“InVizion combined project metadata housed in an obsolete Access database with current Primavera P6 project budgets and schedules and created a CIP management tool that allows efficient program planning, organizing, forecasting, and reporting capabilities never before possible,” says Michael Thomas, Capital Program Management Unit Manager for Engineering at MWD.

MWD now has project and financial planning tools previously not thought of.  A process that would take weeks and include awkward and tedious analysis, has been streamlined to just minutes. Overall staff were satisfied with the performance of the InVizion software and the payback for this initial investment was achieved in just a few weeks.

InVizion and MWD presented this case study at WaterStart’s CHANNELS Connect webinar in Dec. 2020.  Check it out here…

Further Development

The MWD, at this time, continues to evaluate and adjust procedures to further optimize its CIP program using InVizion as cornerstone.  Further, the MWD is looking into ways to expand the uses for InVizion which include creating algorithms that will reschedule projects based on spending limits, providing real-time P6 updates, enhancing project reporting, and providing additional ‘sandbox’ opportunities.

About InVizion

InVizion enables companies to quickly combine project data from disconnected enterprise systems – like finance, supply chain, asset and project management applications – for accurate planning, forecasting, reporting & what-if analysis to reduce portfolio costs, minimize investment risks, and speed project execution.

InVizion software is meant to complement each client’s different enterprise systems (i.e. financial, resource planning, and asset management), and to replace their unique combination of manual spreadsheets and workflows for collaborative budgeting and program management. InVizion’s standard onscreen layouts are highly-suitable for reporting and analysis, and clients can adopt their optional reporting and dashboarding module to customize stakeholder communications.  Learn more at


The Issue at SNWA and LVVWD

Permitting requirements for large water utilities like the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) and the Las Vegas Valley Water District (LVVWD) can be an extremely time intensive process requiring a great deal of man-hours. Anything to help make the permitting process more efficient can lead to large cost savings for an organization, which is why SNWA and LVVWD wanted to pilot new technology that would streamline more of their permitting related processes.

SNWA and LVVWD have permits that range from:

  • environmental permits dealing with environmental regulatory compliance
  • municipal permits when dealing with maintenance issues and maintenance projects,
  • county, state and a city permits for digging into the street and closing down streets,
  • groundwater permits for extracting, treating and delivering drinking water,
  • rights of way permits,
  • wildlife and sensitive species permits for work along the Las Vegas Wash and Virgin River
  • various permits required to meet compliance for the Safe Drinking Water Act among others.

All in all, SNWA and LVVWD are managing and tracking around 3,000 different permits.

SNWA and LVVWD use a variety of programs and applications to manage their permits from in-house programs to spreadsheets to track various reports, renewals and compliance requirements associated with their permits. There is really no comprehensive program used organization-wide to help the water utilities manage the high volume and complex permitting processes and compliance requirements.

The Solution

SNWA and LVVWD saw an opportunity to dramatically change the way these permit systems were being managed by partnering with Klir on a WaterStart pilot project. The Klir technology was one of the only comprehensive systems on the market, which is what was appealing to SNWA and LVVWD. Klir is a modular SaaS platform that centralizes workflows and data for environmental regulation, compliance and quality. There are various other companies in the market that provide permitting solutions, but they typically are only for specific types of permits. For example, there are several different companies that deal primarily with regulatory compliance permitting for the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Air Act etc. These may not offer solutions that deal with water quality monitoring and permitting, or various other types of permits, which is what was needed at SNWA and LVVWD with so many different permitting requirements. Klir provided a compliance and regulation platform that is built specifically for water utilities which can cater for multiple business areas including Permit Management, Sample Management, Violation Management and Audits. The potential for scalability of the Klir platform is something which appealed to SNWA and LVVWD.

Steven Ross is a Senior Environmental, Health and Safety Analyst at LVVWD who helped lead the pilot project. Ross mentioned, “A comprehensive system like Klir helps us pull all of these different permits together to track all the various requirements of the permitting process. It also helps us to collaborate better within our organization among different workgroups to ensure we can get the necessary information to maintain compliance of our permits.”

Klir Permit Management is a cloud hosted solution that holds and lists all of an organization’s permits in one central place. The Klir dashboard displays high level information for all permits in the organization including permit types, the permit numbers, the employees responsible for each permit in each department, the renewal dates, compliance information and more. Data can be quickly sorted with various filters such as department, permit type and open tasks. Information can be managed and viewed by multiple users across multiple departments supporting seamless cross functional collaboration.

Out of the 3,000 permits at SNWA and LVVWD, the initial launch of Klir included the management of approximately 100 permits which primarily included minor source air permits, distribution and maintenance permits, wildlife permits and environmental compliance permits.

Management can quickly view a rolled-up summary of pending & active permits through the Klir dashboard. This gives management an organizational level view of important dates that are approaching, how well the organization is doing in maintaining the permits, permits that might be due for renewal and any notices about being out of compliance. Management can then assign specific employees to various tasks associated with each permit, which can then be viewed and monitored by all. This makes it very easy and streamlined to identify who?s responsible for renewing the permit, submitting a report on the permit, finding specific information and entering information that needs to be tracked for that permit moving the organization from reactive permit management to procative permit management.

There are three critical processes associated with the Klir system: 1) obtaining permits and gathering the information and team members to make a permit application, 2) managing of that permit after it’s been issued by the regulatory agency and 3) managing non-compliance or issues outlined in the permit. The initial focus at SNWA and LVVWD was on the management of the permits and the solution is now being expanded to additional users to include permit application and management of any non-compliances or issues.

Results of the Pilot

The pilot has been launched just to evaluate its feasibility and use. SNWA invested $50,000 to develop the pilot and has been satisfied with what they are finding to this point. “I’m really pleased with it,” said Ross. ” We currently have an in-house system that we developed about 10 years ago which only tracks our environmental health and safety permits; however, this technology is more dynamic and provides us greater opportunities to track an array of permits across different departments in an easy, user-friendly interface.”
There’s a function within the Klir system that allows users to collaborate with other users that might need to provide certain information. SNWA and LVVWD see this as a program that could work well on a larger scale and provide management with a tool to see and understand how things are working and how compliance is being managed for the utilities’ various regulations and permits.

The Klir team worked with SNWA in advance of the launch to identify a set list of success criteria and these were all successfully met as part of the initial launch of the Klir Permit Management solution. In addition, the Klir team met all agreed deliverable dates and worked closely with SNWA throughout the process to ensure the Klir solution met their business needs. Although specific operational metrics were not measured, SNWA and LVVWD see the Klir technology as a system that has the ability to save a lot of man-hours, especially for organizations that have significant permit requirements. Oftentimes, organizations will submit a permit application that gets kicked back by the regulator for not providing all of the required information. Steve believes the Klir system will provide strong cost savings and efficiency in managing this process. The largest overall savings and benefits will come from having just one system for tracking almost everything needed for permits. “I think a lot of different departments will use this,” says Ross.

Permits usually have an expiration, they usually have reporting associated with it and they usually have something that needs to be tracked, and the Klir technology allows you to do all of that. Maintaining the data in a centralized system helps management keep an eye on things and stay informed, rather than relying upon different types of disjointed information and inputs from different directions. Overall efficiency improvement is what SNWA and LVVWD believe is the biggest benefits they will be seeing from this technology.

The pilot was intended to observe whether the specific technology will work for SNWA and LVVWD, and Steve says it has been going great to this point. “So far it’s looking good. So far working with Klir has been really great.” According to Ross, all of those within the organization who has been involved in the pilot have expressed that this technology is going to help them in their jobs a great deal.

Continued Adoption

LVVWD and SNWA are exploring other opportunities within the organizations to use the Klir technology, including at its water quality laboratory. SNWA is currently in discussions with Klir to develop a module that will help laboratory staff schedule and track progress with required monitoring under various rules and requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The program is currently in the design phase with the intention that the Klir module will interface with the laboratory’s current information management system.

SNWA has signed up on a 7-year term with Klir for the Permitting module and have subsequently added on the Klir Sample Management Module. Language has also been added to the Klir contract to allow any public body in the USA to purchase the company’s software without the need for procurement by using a “joinder” or piggyback agreement.

About Klir

All utilities no matter what their size note that ‘operational efficiency is critical to their success’ and ‘regulation management accounts for the majority of operational effort which incurs a substantial cost’. All of this is underpinned by the fact that most regulation management occurs outside systems. There is no single source of truth in utilities and up to 50% of regulation managers time is spent sourcing data manually. Where IT systems have been developed the cost is prohibitive for almost all municipalities.

The Klir platform is purpose-built by water regulatory compliance experts for water utilities. It recognizes that managing compliance data in a utility is a cross-functional activity, with each function having varying objectives and needs. Klir is a modular SaaS platform that centralizes workflows and data for environmental regulation, compliance and quality. The Permits Management module caters for the application process and management of all permit types in one system, providing a one-stop shop for permit applications across the utility. Having all permit data in one central place gives management a birds-eye view of permits across the organization and the status of each permit in real-time.