Inuktun Ensures Safe Water in Chile

Inuktun is ensuring 6 million people have available water and reliable sanitary services is no easy task, especially when the pipeline infrastructure spans more than 11,000 kilometres.

Aguas Andinas South America is the largest company in Chile working in the potable water and sanitary service field in Chile, and one of its key projects is to ensure the country's economic and political capital, Santiago, meets both needs.

A few years ago, Aguas Andinas began a preventative maintenance program to all of the city's pipelines and sewer lines not only to limit the number of breaks or blockages, but also to quickly troubleshoot emergencies that did arise.

To meet the program's needs, the company went searching the globe for an ROV system that was up to the task. "In the past, Aguas Andinas had been working with German, French and American ROVs," said company spokesperson, Miguel Olgun. "(They had) become old or relatively obsolete and the maintenance became too expensive. Consequently, the (ROV) fleet became diminished and a new vehicle was necessary especially for big pipes 600mm up to 2,000mm in diameter."

After an extensive global search, Aguas Andinas consulted with Hidro Chile's Roy Curtis, with whom the company frequently consulted. Curtis recommended Inuktun's Versatrax 150 equipped with an SP90 camera, a vehicle, 500 feet cable winch, a remote controller and a compact flash recorder.

As soon as the system arrived in Chile, so too did Inuktun's service manager Steve Pilcher, who gave the entire crew a thorough operation instruction. "They were pretty excited to use the system in the pipe," said Pilcher, who studied a Power Point presentation and training literature to help with the language barrier. "It was better than anything they had seen. They were impressed with the quick configuration change ability in the VT 150 chassis." Once familiar with the setup, Aguas engineers and ground level workers were impressed with the system's ability to troubleshoot minor issues using controller menus and the diagnostics screen," said Pilcher. "All in all the entire trip went very well and I felt they were able to fully run the system with confidence moving forward."

Armed with new technology and the knowledge to use it, Aguas Andinas has been very successful in fulfilling its mandate to keeping Santiago's water and sanitary pipelines reliable and updated. "The new (Inuktun) system has gone far beyond our own expectations," said Olgun.

On the heels of that success, Aguas Andinas is currently evaluating the benefits of additional equipment from Inuktun to service smaller pipe diameters.

Canadian-based Inuktun Services is an industry leading designer and manufacturer of modular, mobile robotic systems and system components for use in hazardous areas, confined spaces and underwater applications throughout the world. For more information, call 1-800-468-5886 or visit