EYE IN THE SKY
Survey crews are using a drone to map improvements underway at the Mount Olive Wastewater Treatment Plant.
One of the improvements is a $650,000 project to replace a lagoon liner that was ripped apart during Hurricane Florence. Work will also soon crank up on the $5.5 million improvement plans and equipment updates that the plant itself is conducting.
Preliminary work includes mapping of the entire facility, and work in that area usually requires an expensive survey ground crew, but engineers have found a new way to do it with drones.
“Engineers are using drones to do the mapping,” said Town Manager Charles Brown.
“Rather than have a survey crew on the ground that can do about 10 acres a day, our engineers are using a drone that can do [the] work in one day that would require a survey crew a week to do,” the town manager explained. “The drones can map the entire facility in one day, and it is a very impressive operation.”
In addition to the mapping, they are also examining everything in that plant to make sure we do not leave any stones unturned and nothing is overlooked on the project, Brown said.
The mapping process using drones is a fascinating process to watch, he added.
The drone has a 15-minute battery life and requires a two-person team to complete its mission: one to fly it and another, with a laptop showing the grid pattern, to tell the one flying it where the drone needs to go
Brown said all of the data is being placed in the laptop as it is gathered.