Mike Delgado is hunkered in his city-owned utility van, turning knobs and a joystick that guide a camera-laden gizmo through the dank sewer line beneath King Street.
The northwest Denver line was laid on July 1, 1913, and shows its age. Spider-web fractures are probed by whisker-thin tree roots. Millions of white bugs scurry away from the illuminating intruder. Delgado stops the machine at a gaping fracture.
"That's trouble," he said. "We can't have sewer leaking anywhere."
In the end, Delgado found three damaged taps and a fractured main line. And so began a process that would cost the homeowners on King Street more than $20,000 — just as sewer problems cost hundreds of other home owners around Denver thousands of dollars each year.
Every day, Wastewater Management video cameras troll Denver's 1,900 miles of sewer lines, inspecting century-old vitrified clay pipes and brand new PVC pipes.
The goal is to scope every line every two years. No line — old or new — is immune to damage caused by roots, settling dirt and undetected leaks that conspire to disrupt the dirty traffic in Denver's oldest infrastructure.