Faced with the need to inspect a high value pipeline asset due to previous failures and an overall unknown condition, an engineer is presented with the need to balance collecting data inexpensively while ensuring the data provides a quality adequate to make an effective decision. Phase One was designed to look at a pipeline within the system with similar characteristics as the lime slurry line, but in a low consequence area. After vetting the available condition assessment techniques and the reliability of the data they provide, Brown & Caldwell recommended to the utility that PICA Corp.
The report stated that the average wall thickness of the pipeline was more than 90 percent remaining wall; however average wall thickness is often deceiving because it can mask deep, localized defects.
Pipe I was located approximately 1,362 ft from the launch location and highlighted three defects along the invert of the pipe with remaining wall thickness measured at 3 percent, 15 percent and 16 percent.
With these results in hand, the Utility and Brown & Caldwell were gaining confidence in the condition assessment approach. After verifying the accuracy of the inspection data during Phase I and verifying the ability of these tools to travel extended distances through lime slurry pipelines, Phase III received the green light.
To date, this phased approach has built the confidence needed to tackle the daunting task of inspecting 90,000 ft of pipeline. In reality, this is seldom the case; however sometimes we find that inexpensive information is more costly that quality information. Ductile Iron Cement Lined force main that conveys a lime slurry substance from a treatment plant to an open quarry. Verification digs would be performed to assess the accuracy of the condition assessment report.
Pipe II was located 1,400 ft from the launch and highlighted three defects, also mostly along the invert, measuring 9 percent, 16 percent and 16 percent remaining wall thickness.


These pipe sections were removed by the utility and sent to Corrosion Testing Laboratories (CTL) for analysis.
The next step was to inspect a lime slurry line to see if the effluent created any issues for the inspection tool’s deployment. More importantly, the quality of the information will empower the project managers and engineers to make informed decisions regarding high-value, high-consequence assets. The total distance is approximately 90,000 ft with a plan to inspect it in smaller sections. PICA’s SeeSnake inspection tools employ an electromagnetic technology called Remote Field Testing (RFT) to measure the remaining wall thickness of ferrous pipelines. To collect high-resolution data, an inspection speed of approximately 15 ft per minute was used, resulting in an inspection time of under two hours. The average wall thickness for these pipe sections measured between 84 percent and 87 percent remaining wall.
PICA technicians tracked the tool from above ground approximately every 1,500 ft and collected the tool in the early afternoon the following day.
The high consequence of failure and the utility’s previous inexperience with the condition assessment tool’s available prompted them to hire Brown & Caldwell as a consultant to develop an appropriate approach. Because the goal of Phase I was to closely mimic the approach for the lime slurry line, the parties wanted to “free-swim” a tool through the line. The inspection data was sent off-site for analysis while the work site was restored by EEI.
The analysis of the Phase I data indicated a few areas of interest; so two Bell and Spigot pipe sections were selected for verification purposes.


As one example, a cross-sectional analysis of Pipe Two can clearly see the invert corrosion. The inspection data was presented to Brown & Caldwell, which performed further engineering analysis, fitness-for-service reports and life-expectancy models. A three-phase plan of attack was developed to gain confidence in both the ability of these condition assessment tools to be deployed within the pipeline system and the reliability of the reported information. This level of resolution allows decision-makers the information needed to properly plan future pipeline reliability.
Fortuitously, Robinson Construction had recently cleaned the line as part of a separate contract, so most of the launch fittings had already been installed. The 14-inch line relieves itself into an abandoned quarry and the plan was to simply collect the SeeSnake tool as it emptied into the quarry.
The analysis has recently been shared with B&C, which will continue its enhanced engineering analysis. Preliminary information will be shared with the pipeline owner in March 2016 and the subsequent sections will continue to be inspected over the coming year.



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