Case study - WRc completes first European SmartBall® Survey

The challenge

WRc’s specialist pipeline condition assessment team, has completed the first SmartBall® survey in Europe on a waste water rising main. The inspection was completed on behalf of Irish Water, as a pilot condition assessment scheme. Two rising mains were inspected in County Clare in Ireland, 375mm and 450mm in diameter, made of cast iron and asbestos cement.

The objective of the pilot was to carry out an assessment of the two pipelines to identify sections most at risk of failure, identify sections where remediation works are required and to determine the time until failure if remediation works are not carried out.

The solution

The SmartBall® technique was the most effective way to inspect the condition of the pipelines as it allows a number of inspection types to be carried out in a single deployment; The location of leaks identified through the use of acoustic leak detection. Pipe Wall Assessment “PWA” which identifies areas of “stress” in the metallic pipe sections, which can be related to wall thinning or other stress acting on the pipe.

The outcome

Two SmartBall® deployments were performed, one on each pipeline, covering a total length of 10.2km.

Bill Nolan, Risk Management Specialist at Irish Water, comments “We are thrilled to have carried out the first rising main SmartBall® project in Europe. The team at WRc worked closely with the Asset Strategy and Operations teams at Irish Water together with Clare County Council and Response Group during the planning phase of the project to ensure that the deployment and retrieval of the SmartBall® went smoothly. This has reinforced our confidence in considering SmartBall® for further condition assessments of critical assets.

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