Making remaining life predictions for better pipeline asset management

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Courtesy of Water Environment Federation (WEF)


Most underground assets owners would like to know what the probability is for failure of a given pipeline asset as a function of material type, function type, age of the asset, geotechnical environment, and other factors, when we know past failure distributions, predominant failure mechanisms, and other attributes. While most underground utilities have collected voluminous data that could guide them into better buried asset management in the future, the use of suitable reliability analyses have been beyond their reach. Often the replacement and rehabilitation decisions have been based on simple rules of thumb rather than either good science or statistical analyses even when tremendous amount of resources and time are expended on benefiting from the use of state-of-the-art condition assessment techniques. When civil engineers struggle to convince the public and the legislators the dire need for increased rate of investments into buried assets, it is our obligation to engage the most suitable analytical tools to make the best use of past failure data and available infrastructure capex funds. This paper provides a methodology on how sound reliability analysis tools can be used in such management decisions to maintain and operate our underground assets better.

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