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Going Above to Improve Operations: How ACUA is Using Drone Technology

Feb 22, 2017

From performing synchronized light shows at the Super Bowl to changing the way we think about home delivery, drones have been gaining the spotlight for the many ways they can enhance our lives.

Here at ACUA, we’ve been using a drone as an important tool to evaluate infrastructure and improve operations across our facilities.



Our drone can be used with either a high resolution 4k camera or an infrared camera that can monitor surface temperatures. In addition to taking aerial photos and video, the camera can also measure volume calculations, which has helped us measure waste quantities at the landfill and calculate EcoProduct inventory.


Our engineers have used the drone to assess areas that are hard to reach by foot or car. For example, they recently used it to locate a manhole in a meadow area. The drone footage gave a better perspective on its location and how it can be accessed for repair.


Our engineering team has also utilized the infrared camera to monitor our landfill gas collection system at the landfill. By scanning the area, the camera can pick up areas of inefficiency or a build-up of gas in a particular area.


After a Nor’easter came through our area in late January, we were able to quickly assess damage to our temporary landfill cap, which covers a 30-acre area, by using the drone.


Most recently, our Clean Communities Coordinator used the drone to assess litter in Hammonton ahead of the town’s upcoming lake park cleanup. Because the high resolution camera takes such quality photos, we are able to zoom in and identify areas needing attention.



By using a drone we have saved time and money on projects that could have taken weeks or months to hire outside contractors or assess by other means. We look forward to putting it to use in other applications as the opportunities arise.