When asked to name an indispensable piece of drain cleaning equipment, Steve Russo — owner of Mid-State Septic & Sewer in Marlboro, New Jersey — says without hesitation it’s his EasyCAM E5200 pipeline inspection camera.
“All our jobs seem to start with a camera,” he says of the E5200 (now called the SL200). “It definitely makes my life a lot easier. The last thing any customer wants to hear is, ‘I don’t know what the problem is, so I’ll have to dig up your yard to find out.’ It’s so much better when you tell a customer what you found via the camera, then have a conversation about what needs to be done to fix the problem. Otherwise it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.”
Russo says he’s tried several other camera brands, but the EasyCAM checks off many important boxes — ease of use, durability and great customer service. He particularly likes the ability to narrate videos, which allows him to explain what he’s seeing as he cameras a line.
The battery-powered unit, which features a sturdy, powder-coated aluminum frame, can also record to an SD card, USB thumb drive or a Wi-Fi app, all of which makes transferring videos to customers a snap. A powerful locator sonde in the camera head tells Russo exactly where a problem is located and a depth-finder feature shows how deep it is. Plus 200 feet of push cable allows him to camera even the longest sewer laterals.
Russo says he uses the tool for emergency drainline clogs as well as for routine maintenance and cleaning of sewer lines. For example, he has a contract with a management company that operates 14 strip malls. Every six months he inspects sewer lines at the strip malls in order to more efficiently clean the lines.
The camera cost Russo about $6,000 when he bought it several years ago (the SL200 now retails for $8,995). But he says it was a worthwhile investment that has more than paid for itself.
“It’s the No. 1 piece of equipment I take out of my van,” he says. “It’s definitely more expensive than some cameras, but it really gets the job done and the customer service is amazing. I’d never buy another brand of camera.”