A Monster Pipe Demands Monster-Size Inspection Approach
From a purely visual perspective, some pipeline inspections are more awe-inspiring than others. This is especially true when everyone involved describes the pipe diameter as “monster-size,” clocking in at 210 inches in diameter.
A challenge of this magnitude requires fresh thinking from an inspection approach, especially when the subject pipe is so critical to the lifeblood of the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry (NAPI) farm.
The Kutz Siphon in New Mexico is a monster-size water delivery pipe. At 210 inches, the prestressed concrete cylinder pipe (PCCP) is gigantic enough to run an eighteen-wheeler through, with room to spare
Siphon unexpectedly breached by a blowout
In May 2016, when the Kutz Siphon was unexpectedly breached by a blowout, its operator, NAPI, engaged Pure Technologies (Pure) to perform an emergency electromagnetic (EM) inspection. It took a quick mobilization and collaborative planning, combined with Pure’s engineering expertise (with huge assistance from NAPI) to swiftly build a monster electromagnetic tool cart to accommodate the pipe and conduct the inspection to evaluate and deliver data, all within one week.
The NAPI and Pure team rose to the occasion, big time.
Kutz Siphon background
The Kutz Siphon is one of 18 siphons owned by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and operated by NAPI.
This extremely large siphon, built in the 1970s, is a part of an irrigation project that delivers water to the NAPI farm in the area south of Farmington, New Mexico, a location where water can be scarce but soils are fertile.
The breach stopped water delivery for a 72,000-acre farm, and by the time the repair was complete, NAPI estimated over four million dollars in losses from lost crops and diminished yields, not to mention scores of jobs put on hold.
Pure had inspected this siphon, comprised of 210-inch single and double wrap embedded cylinder pipe (ECP) without shorting straps, twice in the past 13 years. The pipe that blew out reportedly had 30 wire wrap breaks in 2003, and during the second inspection in 2010 that amount grew to 60 wire wrap breaks.
Due to this catastrophic failure, NAPI retained the services of Pure Technologies to perform an electromagnetic inspection of the siphon and provide expedited results within seven (7) days.
Before service stopped, water in the canal was used on priority crops until the water ran out, which took about a week. In the meantime, Pure mobilized an international team to the area to work with NAPI officials to develop a plan of attack, as well as address the dewatering challenges.
Building a monster EM cart for a monster pipe
The massive size of the 210-inch pipe required Pure to think big, as the electromagnetic cart would need to be large enough to span the pipe and conduct the inspection. The answer was to combine two EM cart kits into one large inspection tool, and after successful calibration, the monster tool was ready to start its inspection journey.
The tool worked extremely well and traversed large amounts of water and sediment left in the belly of the whale-like pipe. The first day of the EM inspection ended at the point of failure, where NAPI removed two (2) pipes for replacement.
Due to the slope of the pipeline from the point of failure to the siphon inlet, Pure and NAPI set up 600 feet of ropes at the siphon inlet to pull the cart uphill. Field crews from NAPI and Pure worked together inside the pipeline to push the cart uphill in this section to continue the EM inspection.
After two days of challenging work, the inspection was complete, covering a cumulative distance of 1.1 miles and spanning a total of 293 individual pipe sections.
Expedited analysis and results
Analysis obtained through the expedited inspection determined that five (5) pipes in the Kutz Siphon displayed electromagnetic anomalies consistent with prestressing wire damage, ranging from 5 to 10 broken wire wraps.
Analysis also indicated one pipe has become newly distressed since the 2010 inspection and two previously distressed pipes were removed for replacement.
For Pure, the project proved that the bigger the challenge, the more satisfying the results.
No comments were found for A Monster Pipe Demands Monster-Size Inspection Approach. Be the first to comment!