PCA (Pipeline Condition Assessment) Group began, as a business unit within Tubemakers Water, in 1996 to provide expert consultancy services to Australian Water Industry. Initially, the group extensively utilised intelligent pig technology from Canada, and successfully assessed approximately 25km of cast and ductile iron water and sewer mains. Later the group expanded its technology offerings, based on experience prior to the formation of the group.
Since then the group has specialised in the condition assessment of pressurised water and wastewater mains, with a particular emphasis on buried ferrous metal mains, and has operated as a separate profit centre within major international businesses including Tyco Flow Control and Earth Tech Engineering. Today it is a Division of ADE Consulting Group Pty Ltd.
PCA’s experience in this field has remained unmatched by any other service provider in Australia and has conducted genuine condition assessment (not leak detection on reticulation pipes) on thousands of kilometres of water mains in Australia and overseas. It is unique in operating as both a Consultant and Contractor.
Since its formation, PCA has trialed a number of techniques for assessing the condition of water mains and has during that time continued to develop and refine its approach. PCA has arguably grown be one of the leading world experts in the condition assessment of pressurised water mains.
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PRESSURE MONITORING AND LEAK DETECTION
High speed long term Pressure Monitoring is an important tool in assessing the likelihood of failure of brittle pipes. The effect of internal surge pressures in particular was recognised by PCA more than 15 years ago from investigating failures of grey cast iron pipes. These pipes exhibited very little degradation with failed by longitudinal cracking of essentially “sound” metal. High speed pressure monitoring showed the occurrence of very high surge pressures.
The results of Pressure Monitoring are incorporated into PCA’s PipeFail algorithm to estimate likelihood of failure of the main or section of main.
As a consequence of full wall graphitisation, some grey cast iron pipes “leak”, for extended periods before failing. Additionally, lead jointed pipes and locking bar pipes are prone to leak, which in turn may cause large areas of corrosion, and lead to catastrophic failures. PCA can identify the pipes at high risk of leaking from DeskTop Study or Stage 1 Condition Assessment Investigations. It uses, and has access, to all the appropriate techniques:
- Highly Sensitive in-pipe Leak Detection tool;
Real-time above ground non-intrusive technology; and
Leak Detection Correlation.