Pipeline Inspection and Condition Analysis: Can Your Lines Pass an Inspection?

Pipeline Inspection and Condition Analysis: Can Your Lines Pass a “FFS” Inspection?

Do you know the last time your water mains, wastewater, raw water, fire water or other pipelines were inspected? Routine pipeline inspections are the best way to prevent the risk of unexpected failures and interruption of service and to determine if your pipeline is “FFS” (Fit for Service). By knowing the condition of your pipelines, and whether or not corrosion has taken root, you can make better-informed decisions regarding the maintenance and repair of your lines. At PICA Corp, our highly experienced team of technicians can assist you with analyzing the condition of your pipelines. Below we’ll cover where pipeline corrosion comes from, and the many pipeline inspection tools PICA utilizes to determine the condition of your pipelines. Continue reading to find out more!

What Causes Corrosion?

Fending off corrosion is an ongoing challenge for pipelines that carry raw or wastewater. Corrosion can form inside and outside pipes and cause significant damage or unexpected failures. In pipelines that carry drinking water, the minerals in the water can precipitate internally and provide a slight protection from internal corrosion; however, the outside of those lines are often in contact with soil, which can slowly break down the pipeline’s coating. Over time wear and tear from fluids moving through the pipeline and soil coming into contact with the pipe’s exterior will break down any corrosion resistance that the pipe may have. If corrosion grows and is left undetected, it can lead to two significant problems:


    1. Imminent pipeline failure. This results in costly repairs, property damage, and safety risks to your personnel, operations and the surrounding municipalities.

    1. Negative impacts on water quality. Fluids moving inside your pipeline are not always at a higher pressure than the water table outside the line, so, whether through water table pressure or capillary action, dirty water can be drawn into your clean drinking water.

Once a pipeline is exposed to corrosion, it is vulnerable to leaks or complete failure. The best way to ensure your pipeline is in top condition is to do routine inspections and maintenance. Fortunately, PICA Corp is here to help with your pipeline inspection needs! Our pipeline inspection services utilize innovative technology to ensure we understand your pipelines’ condition clearly.

Innovative Technology

At PICA, we pride ourselves on developing and utilizing innovative tools that exceed industry expectations and deliver precise information regarding the condition of your pipelines. Our range of Remote Field Technology (RFT), acoustic leak noise devices and Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) robots are world leaders in non-destructive testing, allowing our technicians to work efficiently. Some of the tools we use for our pipeline inspection services include:

Standard SeeSnake Tools

Standard SeeSnake Tools are suitable for pipe sizes from 3″ to 16″ in ductile-iron, cast-iron or steel. These Tools are fully autonomous and can travel many miles (km’s) inside a full and flowing pipe detecting the axial and clock location of wall-loss defects caused by corrosion or erosion and allowing owners to pro-actively repair the thinned spots before they fail.

SeeSnake Chimera Model Tools

The next size up for SeeSnake Tools is the Chimera model. These cover pipe sizes 16″ to 36″ and are also fully autonomous. Like Standard SeeSnakes they can traverse through back-to-back 90 degree elbows, valves and fittings, which are all detected, as well as detecting welds, flanges, B&S joints and many more features. The highest resolution electro-magnetic Tools in the industry, they don’t care if the pipe is full of water (ultrasonic Tools must have a full pipe) or empty.

SeeSnake-RAFT Model Tools

The SeeSnake Restricted Access Flexible Tool (RAFT) is designed to non-destructively assess the condition of the steel cylinder and wire integrity in large diameter PCCP and bar-wrapped pipes. This unit is self-contained and has battery power, data storage, and distance tracking integrated into the tool. Access is via standard 18″ manways and the Tool is essentially winched between manways providing high-resolution inspection coverage of the full pipe length. This Tool can also inspect steel, cast or ductile-iron pipes in the size range 36″ to 48″.

SeeSnake-EMIT Model Tools

The SeeSnake Electromagnetic Inspection Technology (EMIT) tool is designed to non-destructively asses the condition of ultra-large-diameter steel or PCCP pipes from 60″ to 120″ diameter. Unlike competing pipeline inspection tools, the EMIT’s collapsible design allows PICA’s technicians to insert the device through small access openings, such as standard manways. This collapsible design eliminates the need for excavation or cutting of the pipeline for inspection.

CCTV Technology

Most of PICA’s Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) inspection tools are designed to inspect pipes between 8″ to 16″ in diameter; however, we do have a tool has the capability of inspecting pipelines up to 60” in diameter. We also have tools designed explicitly for smaller pipes without compromising its data integrity or overall resolution. These CCTV tools are perfect for spotting signs of cracking, joint and lining issues, blockages, and stuck valves.

Bracelet Probes

One of the final units in PICA’s comprehensive arsenal of pipeline inspection tools is our Bracelet Probe (BP). This tool has been crafted to rapidly detect internal corrosion damage on pipelines starting at 6″ in diameter from outside the pipe. The Bracelet Probe can provide accurate data regarding your pipelines’ wall thickness variances using high-resolution sensors and low-frequency electromagnetic technology. The Internal version of the Bracelet Probe can also easily scan through cement mortar liners (CML) in large diameter water pipes.

Pipeline Inspection Services from PICA Corp.

By utilizing innovative non-destructive technology, PICA Corp can quickly and efficiently inspect your pipelines to ensure they are in optimal condition. That way, if damage or corrosion is found, you have a clear understanding of the extent of damage and thus can make an informed decision regarding how to move forward with repairs and maintenance. Since the early 1990s, PICA has proudly provided our customers with comprehensive pipeline inspection services for water mains, wastewater, raw water, slurry pipelines and more. To learn more about our pipeline inspection services, contact PICA today!