The SewerVUE Asbestos Cement Pipe Scanner
Revolutionary Technology for small-diameter AC pipe inspection
Between the 1930s and the 1960s, a new type of material emerged as a common choice for new pipelines: asbestos cement, or AC. Over the course of several decades, 600,000 miles of AC pipe was laid across North America in the form of water and sewer lines. The design life of AC pipe was estimated to be about 50 years. Since then, studies have shown that the actual life is more like 60-70 years on average. In either case, tens of thousands of miles of AC pipeline is currently nearing the end of its useful life. Asbestos cement pipe failures are on the rise, especially on the North American west coast. As time goes on, more and more municipalities will reach this tipping point.
To manage this problem, options are somewhat limited. Effective options are even more so. Of course the obvious choice may be to simply look at the average life of AC pipe, and replace pipes as they near that age. While that may be effective, it certainly isn’t efficient or cost-friendly. Many AC pipes have been shown to be in great shape, even at 70 years old.
The solution is proactive maintenance. Proactive maintenance is the method of identifying which pipes have reached the end of their useful life, and replacing them before catastrophic failure occurs. Identifying which pipes require maintenance is, of course, the challenging part. Small-diameter pipes can generally only be inspected with CCTV, which has limited benefits in trying to determine if a pipe needs replacing.
With the goal of providing quantitative measurements to help with preventative maintenance, SewerVUE Technology has developed the Asbestos Cement Pipe Scanner, or ACPS. The ACPS is a device that can use SewerVUE’s revolutionary Pipe Penetrating Radar (PPR) technology to quantify the remaining thickness of small-diameter AC pipe. After early stage lab tests showed good results, SewerVUE tested the ACPS on a section of the Harbourgreene line in Surrey, British Columbia. The Harbourgreene line is a 10” AC pipe that was installed in 1972, and had no known corrosion issues; this inspection would serve as a baseline test for the ACPS. A 200-foot section of the pipeline was surveyed, and as expected, there was little variation in the thickness of the pipe wall. The test had been a success!
Pipe Penetrating Radar is a proven method for determining the structural condition of pipelines. The technology is ready for deployment in small-diameter pipes, using SewerVUE's ACPS. Contact us today to arrange an ACPS pilot project!