Mr. Griffiths, a certified Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP), has ...
Approximately two decades ago, multi-sensor inspection (MSI) technologies were developed to overcome the challenges of inspecting large-diameter gravity sewers. These technologies have enabled utility owners to better understand asset conditions, make impactful, cost-effective decisions to maximize interceptor remaining useful life (RUL), and keep critical systems functioning efficiently. Twenty years of innovation and evolution have seen the application of MSI technologies expand to accommodate almost any pipeline environment.
So how can you leverage MSI technologies to evaluate your system’s condition? Here are three key things to consider before embarking on your MSI assessment.
Start with “Why?”
What information do you need to gain from the assessment?
Do you suspect H2S gas and corrosion is an issue, and you want to quantify it?
Are you trying to determine your interceptor's actual location and alignment?
Are you checking a box to satisfy regulatory requirements?
Understanding the basic mechanics of different sensors and how the collected information will benefit a design engineer or your maintenance and capital planning programs is important. This will help you decide what technology will best achieve your condition assessment goals.
Sensors are Commodities
Most mobile phones have high-definition cameras–the latest iPhone includes a LiDAR sensor–so why would you accept anything less for your sewer inspection? Continuous scanning 3D LiDAR sensors are very affordable these days.
Sensor fusion is the secret sauce; blending multiple technologies can produce a single coherent picture of a pipeline using off-the-shelf sensors. At a bare minimum, you should require high-definition imagery and videos with good lighting.
Don’t Limit the “How”
Inspecting large-diameter interceptors is not for the faint of heart, and there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to MSI technologies. Interceptors can span vast distances and are often in remote locations with deep access shafts, and that is without considering what is happening inside the pipe.
If flow volumes are high, a floating platform may be the best MSI technology.
If flows are turbulent, a heavy, tracked crawler may be a better transport tool.
If flow volumes are low and the pipe has a large diameter, a drone may be an effective MSI transport tool.
Make sure that you do not have a laser focus on a specific technology or a specific feature, as this can limit the quality of your collected data and the decisions you are able to make from it.
New technologies are constantly being developed to comprehensively assess large-diameter assets. With a little forethought and an open mind, MSI technologies can help you make decisions that limit risk, enhance asset management, and extend RUL. RJN’s condition assessment and MSI experts are here to help you develop an inspection plan that uses the right tools for your pipeline and gain the knowledge you need. Reach out today!