Do You Know The Value Of Regularly Inspecting Your Water Mains?

Do You Know The Value Of Regularly Inspecting Your Water Mains?

Are your water mains at risk for corrosion failure? Each year, main breaks cause millions of dollars of damage to property, roadways, and residences. Regular inspection of your mains helps ensure that your pipes are in serviceable condition and free from risk of failure that leads to costly repairs. At PICA Corp, we’re proud to be a leading provider of inspection services for customers all over the globe. Read on to learn more about the detection of corrosion and deterioration, including one of the Edmonton Region’s major culprits, tuberculation, below.

What Causes Corrosion and Tuberculation In Water Mains

In drinking water lines, the minerals present in the water can precipitate internally, creating tuberculation, which can lead to additional issues alongside those created by external corrosion. Tuberculation can pose significant challenges to the overall operation of your pipeline as it leads to the development of tubercles on the unlined surface of ferrous pipes. This layer of tubercles may actually slow development of corrosion, but can cause other issues by preventing adequate water flow, changing the color of water passing through the line should the deposits breakdown (which can cause alarm for those on the receiving end of the pipe), and more.

If left undetected corrosion and tuberculation may lead to two major issues:

    1. Failure of the water main, usually due to external corrosion.

    1. Water quality will suffer. Fluid inside the pipe is not always at a higher pressure than the water table outside the pipe, so dirty water can be drawn into the drinking water by high water table pressure or capillary effect

Once a line is vulnerable, it’s only a matter of time before the main begins to experience leaks or a complete failure, as well as pressure fluctuations and other inconveniences caused by tubercle build up.

PICA’s Solution For Corrosion And Tuberculation Buildup

The See Snake Advantage

PICA’s See Snake tool makes the inspection of water mains simple. Fast and reliable, the See Snake family of ILI Tools has quickly become an essential element of AMP’s across North America. Utilizing proven NDT technology, these tools conduct condition assessments, and are equally sensitive to internal or external flaws. The See Snake can run long distances as needed, and offers inspection speeds of 1.5 to 2 km/hr on average. All of our See Snake tools are fully autonomous and can be used either tethered or free swimming with access to 6″ mains through hydrants.


Suitable for larger pipes, the Electro-Magnetic Inspection Technology (EMIT) tool was created by PICA’s sister company, Russell NDE in 2006. As an extremely reliable resource, EMIT conducts analysis by running on the inside of the pipeline, eliminating the need for costly excavation. Electromagnetic signals are transmitted through the pipe wall and are recorded as they return into the pipe. Recorded data identifies many forms of damage quickly. The latest version of EMIT was released in 2017 and is now designed to assess large diameter pipes up to 78” in the highest resolution possible.

Don’t let your water mains remain at risk for corrosion, tuberculation, and other related issues. Contact PICA today to learn more.