UAS Inspect Water Standpipe

drone, prairie standpipeAt 160 feet tall, the Prairie Standpipe in northern Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is said to be the largest structure of its kind in the world. That’s impressive, but it also makes determining the condition of its exterior a challenge.

Until now. In this day of drones, getting a bird’s eye view is much easier, much to the delight of the city’s water department. Built in 1993, the 2 million gallon Prairie Standpipe is due for a new coating of exterior protection, said water superintendent Jim Markley. “It’s starting to get to the point where rust is developing,” he said. A consultant for the city this week unleashed a drone to determine the condition of the conspicuous structure, more commonly known as a water standpipe.

By surveying and documenting the condition up close, the consultant can put together more accurate and detailed specifications for contractors who may be interested in applying the coating.
“The more the contractor knows what’s going to be encountered the more accurate the bids are going to be,” Markley said. That minimizes the possibility of change orders that could add to the cost and time to the work.
Markley said the drone did an exceptional job. “It took 15 minutes to zip around and get pictures and that was it,” he said.
The standpipe project will go to bid early next year. The work is expected to be performed in April.


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