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Perth pipelines to get high-tech water imaging

Water Corporation is set to begin a high-tech program in order to better assess the condition of watermains in the Perth CBD, which will help manage asset replacement and upgrades.

Water Minister Terry Redman recently announced that the Corporation will use broadband electromagnetic (BEM) imaging as part of an extensive pipe assessment program.

Mr Redman said Water Corporation had been trialling BEM technology over the past year, but in light of the recent bursts along Wellington Street it would now be rolled out across the city immediately.

A Water Corporation spokesperson told Trenchless Australasia that Rock Solid supplies the equipment and software licences for the technology. Water Corporation bought the equipment, perform the scanning, capture the data, review the data and make initial interpretations. Key data is then sent to Rock Solid to provide more detailed interpretation and advice.

The spokesperson said Water Corporation’s Engineering Construction Services Branch (ECSB) is completing the implementation themselves, in conjunction with Perth Region Alliance (PRA). ECSB has purchased the hardware, leased the software, trained staff and will be doing the actual testing. PRA will be responsible for the excavation, reinstatement, traffic management, construction management and project management.

The Water Corporation Asset Management Renewals team is co-ordinating the works program, in consultation with the City of Perth and other key stakeholders.

“Until now Water Corporation has relied on historical records to help decide when pipes needed fixing or replacing, but these records are sometimes incomplete, inaccurate or difficult to interpret,” Mr Redman said.

“Initially Water Corporation believed the pipe in Wellington Street was around 50-60 years old, but further analysis of their records suggests the pipe may be more than 100 years old,” he said.

BEM imaging works like a giant CAT scan, rotating around the outside of a pipe and producing an image of the thickness and condition of the pipe wall.

The work to permanently replace the pipe which burst along Wellington Street is expected to be complete by mid-June.

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