The Ministry of Public Works and Transport has embraced modern technology and launched the Kingdom’s first robotic drain monitoring device. The machine will be used to investigate the insides of sewers and drains.

The launch of the robot took place as public works minister Sun Chanthol led a team to inspect the sewerage infrastructure of Siem Reap town on September 13.

“In the past, if we wanted to understand what conditions in a pipe of drain were like, we had to send a man in. This was very tiring, dangerous work – it is difficult to even travel 20m from a manhole. Now, with this device equipped with cameras, we can easily locate blockages and carry out inspections,” he said.

“It can travel up to 200m down a drain or sewer, taking pictures the whole time. This will make it very easy for us to check both sewer pipes and storm drains,” he added.

According to the minister, a robot equipped with a camera is a far more efficient way of inspecting drains than sending a human in.

“Previously we would have dispatched one of our staff. Often, there is not enough air for a human to survive, not to mention the [foul] smell they had to endure. Now, we can see any problems on the camera feed from the robot. Once we identify a blockage, for example, we can fit a high pressure pump to the drain and blast it with water. Once the blockage is cleared, we simply pump the water out,” he explained.

Ministry spokesman Heang Sotheayuth said the ministry was very pleased with the new technology.

“This device is highly mobile, so we can use it anywhere. Once we are adept at employing it, we will expand its usage further,” he said.

Chanthol also took measures to find the cause of the recent flooding of some roads in Siem Reap town. There were landslides on the Siem Reap River and damage to some infrastructure on August 15.

He also requested that people work together to take care of the roads. They should keep the areas in front of their homes clean and dispose of rubbish in the correct way. Waste is a major source of blocked drains, he said, adding that when combined with people using earth to build their land higher than the roads, flooding is bound to occur. He urged more care from Siem Reap residents.