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Posts Tagged ‘asset management’

PICA finds a hole in one!

May 31, 2013 1 comment

Last July, we posted a blog about inspecting 4,400 ft of 16-in ductile iron force main in the southern U.S. using PICA’s patented SeeSnake. The resulting condition assessment indicated that the first 550 ft of line was heavily corroded while the remaining line was in great shape. A report was written that provided the remaining wall thickness along with axial and clock positions for the three thinnest pitting regions in each pipe.

Last week, a dig was performed to confirm PICA’s assessment on one of the assessed pipes. PICA predicted a through hole (0% remaining wall) located 2.7 ft from the joint along with two other corroded regions approximately 6 ft from the joint. The excavated pipe contained exactly that.

Knowing that PICA’s technology provides direct condition assessment that works, the client can now make informed decisions regarding their pipeline.

Through hole in Ductile Iron

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PICA’s Bracelet Probe is successful in its first commercial application

October 16, 2012 1 comment

PICA recently completed field work using its new Bracelet Probe in Florida. A Bracelet Probe, manufactured by PICA’s sister company, Russell NDE Systems, is similar to the in-line SeeSnake tools used to inspect metallic pipeline. While the SeeSnake is an internally applied technology, the Bracelet Probe is applied externally and is appropriate for cast and ductile iron, bare pipe and for insulated, above-ground, steel pipe.

In Florida, PICA technicians inspected two sets of ductile iron pipe, 14″ and 20″ in diameter. Internal corrosion was found to be limited but there was some degree of external corrosion not immediately apparent from visual inspections due to the presence of graphitic corrosion. The graphite was later chipped out to confirm the inspected corrosion depth with a pit depth gauge. PICA’s results are currently being incorporated into the client’s Asset Management Plans.

For more information on the Blanket Probe (similar to the Bracelet Probe), watch this short video or contact us at info@picacorp.com

Bracelet Probe

Costa Mesa uses PICA SeeSnake on award winning project.

September 14, 2012 1 comment

CMSD Logo

Costa Mesa Sanitary District (CMSD) was recently presented the Avoiding Disasters by Proactively Assessing Sewer Force Main Conditions – INNOVATIVE PROGRAM/PROJECT AWARD by the California Special Districts Association.

As stated in their application, “Sewer force main pipes are ticking time bombs for public agencies”. Aiming to prevent a ruptured force main similar to one that ruptured for a nearby agency (spilling nearly 2.3 million gallons of untreated sewage into three creeks), CMSD employed an innovative process to accurately assess their pipeline.

First, CMSD’s team of experts successfully cleaned 1,500 ft of sewer force mains using poly pigs made of flexible open cell polyurethane foam. No pigs got lodged in the pipeline and there was no disruption of service to customers. Then PICA employed its SeeSnake RFT tool to measure wall thickness. The results have confirmed CMSD’s decision to assess these lines and are immediately making plans to rehabilitate the force main before a sanitary sewer overflow occurs.

CMSD Engineer, Rob Hamers, stated that he has “waited over 30 years for a tool like SeeSnake” and compares it to be equivalent to the invention of the calculator for engineers.

Congratulations to CMSD and their proactive approach to force main management!

Environment Canada increases the pressure to prevent pollution of waterways

March 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Wastewater producers are required by Environment Canada directives to treat their wastewater effluent to the standards cited by Section 36.(3) of the Fisheries Act. The Act simply states that no one has the right to deposit, or permit to deposit, a deleterious substance of any type in water frequented by fish.Environmental Effects

Effluent from most wastewater treatment plants meets this standard but what about wastewater from sewer pipes that leak?

Up to 3,700 illnesses annually are due to exposure to recreational water contaminated by sanitary sewage overflows. In 1989, sanitary sewer overflows in Cabool, Missouri contaminated drinking water distribution lines causing 243 cases of reported diarrhea and 4 deaths. (EPA)

Most people are aware of the fact that when there is widespread flooding, such as in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, there is an immediate risk of diseases such as cholera, tetanus, typhoid etc. What many people are not aware of is that there are over 75,000 sanitary sewer leaks or overflows per annum in the USA alone. These are potential sources of these same diseases and for pollution of our waterways.

Fines for pollution of our waterways in both Canada and the USA are severe: $200k/day in Canada. Many fines of $400k+ have been levied for Canadian polluters.

The problem is that our sewers are aging and leaking more frequently and there is not enough money in municipal coffers to replace these tired assets with new pipe. Asset managers are facing escalating costs for emergency repairs, environmental fines, consent decrees and third-party damage while trying to scrape together funds for replacements. Fortunately, PICA can help!

Recently, PICA inspected a 5 mile length of 24″ force main for the City of Raymore, MO. The City was interested in knowing the condition of the first mile of this length but they found that the good information provided by PICA was so valuable that they are now considering paying the extra charge for the data from the remaining 4 miles of pipe to be analysed. As a first step, they will be excavating the line at several weak spots identified by the PICA SeeSnake tool. We fully expect that the condition of the pipe in these local spots will be confirmed, thereby saving the City from several potential environmental disasters.

Cast iron, ductile iron and steel pipelines laid in poorly drained soils and having virtually no external protective coating will corrode and eventually fail. The process of corrosion is often galvanic, ie: highly localized pitting locations caused by electric currents flowing between anodic and cathodic areas on the pipe. Just like your car battery post, the positive (or anodic) post corrodes while the negative (cathodic) post is untouched by  corrosion. Pipes can be protected by connecting sacrificial anodes (zinc ingots) at suitable spacing so that the zinc anodes corrode instead of the pipe. In many cases, PICA can identify long lengths of pipeline that can be protected and the corrosion process arrested by retrofitting the line with cathodic protection or buried anodes.

For a cost that is generally less than 5% of replacement cost, PICA can assure asset managers of the actual, full length condition of their pipelines. SeeSnake tools can be run once to provide a “snapshot” of line condition or be  run on a scheduled basis to monitor the changing condition over time and thereby project when repair or replacement is required.

For more information, contact one of our technical sales representatives in your area (www.picacorp.com).

Worried about a main break?

October 17, 2011 Leave a comment

You’re not alone. Around the country, high profile mains continue to fail. A quick Google search for “water main breaks” yields more results than people feel comfortable acknowledging. Here are three examples: Central Park West, Boston, and Durham.

Asset management is a difficult job. Mains are unpredictable and many operators feel they lack the tools (and money) to effectively battle these breaks. At PICA, we are working hard to develop economical Direct Condition Assessment tools that empower decision makers. More effective asset management is possible.

Check out our website or call us to learn more.

In-line inspection companies are working together for the benefit of the client

June 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Dave RussellThe recent rise in the consolidation of companies providing leak detection and condition analysis of water mains (Wachs with JD-7; Pure with EMTEK and PPIC; Mueller with Echologics) confirms that the market for in-line inspection technologies is blossoming and pipeline managers are realizing the value of non-destructive testing for their buried assets.

The life extension of water and wastewater pipelines is a very practical way to make the most effective use of tight maintenance budgets. Although in-line technologies can be invasive (for example, potable mains must be thoroughly flushed and shock-chlorinated after the inspection), this is a small price to pay for the value derived by using them. Technologies like PICA’s HydraSnake and the Wachs JD-7 tools that enter potable water mains offer value to the client as excavation and cutting of the pipe is not required. In addition, removal of thick scale and coatings is not needed for these particular tools.

It may seem that these consolidations give asset managers fewer companies to choose from, however the technologies that they can now bring to the table are varied – each having its own unique strengths – and that is good news for any asset manager.

Kind regards,
Dave Russell

“Life Extension” for water & waste water pipelines

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

 

Dave Russell

A common expression used in the oil and gas industry is “life extension”. Usually people are referring to aging power stations, refineries or gas plants that have exceeded their design life and are “kept going” by intensive inspection programs that include NDT (Non Destructive Testing).

It is also a common term used in Asset Management Programs (AMPs) for buried oil and gas pipelines and above ground structures like bridges.

One day, I hope that the water and waste water business will start talking about “life extension”. In my mind, it is the only way to minimize the expense (currently estimated to be 334.8 billion dollars over the next two decades) of replacing aging water mains and sewer pipelines.

A discussion group that I have found valuable for members of the water and waste water community is the “Pipeline Condition Assessment Group” on LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/f1gNF5.

Kind regards,
Dave Russell