Addressing The Burning Question: Will AI Replace Wastewater Professionals?


The Question On Everyone’s Mind

As artificial intelligence (“AI”) becomes integrated into our daily lives, it’s natural to feel threatened by its expanding capabilities. This is happening in many industries, including wastewater management, where professionals often wonder, “Will AI replace me?”


The Guys Behind The AI

Billy Gilmartin, co-founder of SewerAI, is no stranger to these concerns and is keen to showcase the benefits of AI:

“Everyone is talking about it, but I think what remains to be very unclear to professionals, especially in wastewater, is how can I use AI to my benefit?” he says.

Billy’s path to AI began with his own sewer cleaning and inspection business. His role as a contractor provided him with unique insights into the challenges faced by those working in wastewater infrastructure across the nation. It was during this time that he met Matt Rosenthal, who specialized in sewer inspection software. The two shared a vision for the future and saw an opportunity to address widespread inefficiencies in the industry.

“We saw the future the same way,” Billy recalls, “and decided to do something about it by incorporating this business called SewerAI.”


Creating One Source Of Ground-Truth

After extensive consultations with industry stakeholders—contractors, utility workers, regulators, and others—Billy and Matt identified critical inefficiencies that were wasting the time of wastewater professionals and placing unfair expectations on them:

“They’re expected to go out and basically be a radiologist for pipelines and run at the speed of an all-star running back,” Billy admits.

An operator spends 66% of a sewer inspection documenting their observations or diagnosing the issue by looking through a binder. Later, that data is given to a civil engineer, who then spends time re-analyzing and coding that same video footage, for fear of misdiagnosis by the operator.

For Billy and Matt, AI was the way to relieve operators of unrealistic demands and offer a “one and done” review process that everyone could trust.


AutoCode Created To Serve & Detect 

This realization led to the creation of AutoCode, SewerAI’s first product. This computer vision AI tool automatically detects conditions during sewer inspections and produces a standardized NASSCO PACP report. This allows operators to concentrate on capturing high-quality video, while engineers can focus more on designing and implementing the necessary repairs. Initially, AutoCode was limited to working effectively in 8-inch VCP pipes, but after continuous refinement and testing by NASSCO-certified technicians, it evolved into a robust tool capable of handling various pipe sizes and materials.

addressing the burning question: will ai replace wastewater professionals?

Pioneering Data Management

Billy also highlighted significant issues in data management within the industry. The traditional method involved physically transporting data, which was not only costly but also prone to risks. This led to the development of Pioneer, a platform that enhances productivity by transitioning the entire data management process to the cloud.

addressing the burning question: will ai replace wastewater professionals?

addressing the burning question: will ai replace wastewater professionals?

addressing the burning question: will ai replace wastewater professionals?

“We have a completely vertically integrated system that helps wastewater professionals to increase their productivity, significantly reduce their costs, and increase the accuracy of the data so that cities can make the wisest decisions about how to maintain their sewer collection systems,” reports Billy.


Thinking Ahead To Above-Ground Applications Of AI

With tools like AutoCode and platforms like Pioneer, SewerAI is paving the way for broader applications of AI in infrastructure management, potentially extending beyond wastewater to areas such as roadways, bridges, and electrical systems. But infrastructure, historically, is an out-of-sight, out-of-mind problem— especially when it comes to sewer systems: “Three billion feet [of sewers] are at the end of their useful life,” states Billy.

Yet, Billy remains optimistic about the future and the role of AI in creating a safer, more sustainable environment. “Our mission is to find cracks in the system, predict risk to society, and prescribe solutions for a more safe and sustainable future. We better wake up to these things because we want our grandchildren to experience a better life than the one we have today,” he states.


Keeping The Human In Superhuman

SewerAI is putting workers’ minds at ease by proving that AI is not a threat but rather a “partner in grime,” so to speak. There is no shortage of work for those in wastewater, and integrating SewerAI products allows them to do their jobs with superhuman speed and accuracy.

“So to answer the burning question: No, our AI isn’t coming for your job. It’s coming to help you cover twice as much ground in a day, cut video review by up to 70%, annotate videos 6x faster, and achieve 100% coding accuracy. AI plus you is superhuman – and you can’t be superhuman without the human turning results into real solutions.”

Another human component important to SewerAI’s business is its customer service and easy access to the technology. Knowing that users need to “see it to believe it,” any person can upload a 100 Gigabyte inspection video and test AutoCode themselves for free through the SewerAI website. There are also video tutorials available as well as a live chat representative ready to assist within two minutes to help customers troubleshoot an issue (even if that issue is not related to a SewerAI product).


AI: Power to the People

Despite the specter of a robot revolution, AI presents opportunities rooted in science fact rather than science fiction. Solutions like those created by SewerAI power human possibility with AI-driven technology that makes work easier, faster, and more accurate, enabling Artificial Intelligence to live up to the name.


Those interested in learning more about SewerAI and its AI-powered applications are invited to visit the company’s website:  www.sewerai.com.



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