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New Technologies for Effective Pipe Inspections

Amanda Coulas   |   February 24, 2017

A look at new technologies advancing the monitoring process of aging infrastructure. Effectively reducing the cost of ongoing inspections and maintenance.

Without a doubt, aging utility infrastructures in cities around the world require more maintenance and repairs than ever.

The average person takes the systems put into place long ago to collect excess water, deliver drinking water to homes, and quickly route waste away for treatment for granted. It is a serious and growing concern for municipalities to assess and understand the safety, structure, and integrity of their utility's infrastructures. Detecting, scheduling and completing small repairs as they are identified may prevent a disaster from occurring or the need to budget and undertake a complete system overhaul.

Being proactive is no easy feat. Every system presents unique challenges. The state of municipal water systems is largely determined by the age of that utility. Depending on the when the city was incorporated and the environmental and geographic considerations, each municipality will have different types of access points, layout, sizes of pipes and more.

How are Cities Addressing This?

The world is looking for new innovative ideas to efficiently assess the integrity of their pipes. Recently, an article was published on this topic regarding San Diego, California. San Diego is a good case study where city officials are taking steps in the right direction to understand and evaluate in real time their aging infrastructure. Consequently, they are able to put together plans and budgets to effectively manage repairs and upgrades.

“Proactive pipeline assessments typically go unnoticed by the public, but they are central to our never-ending efforts to provide safe and reliable water to 3.3 million residents, they help ensure water will come out of people’s taps when they expect it, and they have had the very real effect of ensuring our maintenance money is spent wisely.”

Mark Muir, chair of the water authority’s board of directors, said in a statement.

San Diego has implemented new technologies such as remote field technology (RFT) which measures the thickness of pipes walls. Using an electromagnetic field, this unique technology detects changes in the thickness of pipes walls as indicators of fatigue, weakness or material erosion.

Another municipality that is taking a proactive approach, is the Town of Renfrew, Ontario This small town now undertakes their own inspections with a Deep Trekker DT340 pipe crawler system. The town was searching for ways for an immediate response tool which could be brought to remote locations for instant diagnostics of areas where repairs are being considered.


Affordable and Efficient Inspections

At Deep Trekker, it is our mission to bring accessible observation to the world. The CCTV camera system is a tool that even small municipalities and service companies can afford, and it is also just as robust and capable as other pipe crawlers on the market. Fitting into two carrying cases, it is used as a hassle-free way to consistently monitor different areas of the storm and waste water infrastructure.

The town of Renfrew is just one example how a town can save over $400,000 by owning this tool. Read their full story.

As we continue to grow, our cities and their infrastructures will continue to expand and require upgrades. These new innovative technologies are just the beginning for effective pipe inspections.

Do you know of any other great pipe assessment technologies available? Let us know in the comments below.

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