ADOT Deploys Drone to Monitor Pump Stations Ahead of Arizona Monsoon

Drone Helps ADOT Prepare for Flash Flooding Threats

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is using a drone to monitor pump stations that remove storm runoff from many sections of Valley freeways during the upcoming summer monsoon. The drone is being utilized to inspect for cracks, leaks, worn parts, or other issues within the pump stations.

According to an ADOT release, the drone allows technicians to examine areas that are difficult to access, such as upper sections of pipes that lift stormwater from a pump station's storage well. The device was first tested in February, and ADOT anticipates that it will enable technicians to more than double the number of maintenance inspections they conduct annually.

Pump Stations Play Crucial Role in Drainage System

Pump stations typically operate with three or four engines and large pumps that they power. ADOT crews conduct regularly scheduled inspections of the engines, including oil and fluid checks. They also perform test runs of the pumps, even if there is no water in a station's system.

“Most pumps can lift more than 12,000 gallons per minute. That means an average pump station could empty a 35,000-gallon swimming pool in less than a minute,” the ADOT release stated.

However, strong summer storms that drop 2 or more inches of rain in an hour can challenge any drainage system. As a result, ADOT technicians monitor pump station operations and remain prepared to respond to maintenance needs.

Drivers Urged to Secure Loads and Avoid Littering

ADOT reminds drivers to secure their loads and not litter along freeways because debris that collects in drainage systems can block water flow, potentially exacerbating the risk of flash flooding during the monsoon season.

DroneXL's Take

The use of drones by ADOT to monitor pump stations ahead of the monsoon season is a prime example of how drones can be effectively employed to enhance public safety and infrastructure maintenance. By utilizing drones to inspect hard-to-reach areas, technicians can identify potential issues more efficiently and proactively address them before they lead to more severe problems during heavy rainfall events.

This innovative approach not only improves the overall functionality of the drainage system but also helps protect the lives and property of Arizona residents. As continues to advance, it is likely that we will see an increasing number of government agencies and organizations adopting drones for similar purposes, ultimately leading to more resilient and well-maintained infrastructure.

Photo courtesy of ADOT.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ or @hayekesteloo.

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