York Region Completes Initial Condition Assessment Water Main

The York-Peel Feeder Main provides a critical supply of water for residents and businesses in The Regional Municipality of York. The pipeline is made of 1800-mm (72-inch) Pre-stressed Concrete Cylinder Pipe (PCCP) and runs roughly 25 kilometres (about 16 miles) through both Peel Region and York Region.

Although the pipeline was built in 2005 and is relatively young, York Region conducted two proactive inspections in April 2013 using advanced inline technologies to locate leaks, gas pockets and structural deterioration. Multiple stakeholders, including Peel Region, the Ontario Clean Water Authority (OCWA), York Region and local municipalities necessitated careful planning to minimize service disruption for end users.

Regular leak detection can help utilities identify leaks that may not be visible at the surface. These proactive repairs can help to reduce their non-revenue water and prevent pipeline failures, as leaks are often a precursor to pipeline failure. Locating and eliminating gas pockets also helps to reduce pressure on pumps attempting to pump water past an air pocket. As pockets grow in size, they can adversely affect the flow and capacity of a pipeline.

The SmartBall® leak detection tool was used to assess the pipeline for leaks and gas pockets and is often used as a precursor to electromagnetic (EM) condition assessment of PCCP pipelines. The SmartBall platform is a non-destructive, free-swimming tool that measures the acoustic activity associated with leaks and air pockets.
The tool was launched just downstream of the Airport Road Pump Station in Peel Region and was tracked successfully throughout the inspection and retrieved at the Maple Reservoir in York Region.

An EM inspection was completed on the pipeline using PipeDiver®, a free-swimming EM tool used to identify and quantify wire breaks in PCCP. The EM sensor collects a magnetic signature reading as the PipeDiver traverses the pipeline and identifies anomalies produced by wire breaks in PCCP, which are the main indicator that a pipe of this type will eventually fail. The tool is ideal for performing a baseline inspection of a PCCP pipeline that cannot be removed from service.

During the inspection, the PipeDiver was tracked through the pipeline as it passed 17 Butterfly Line valves of various designs and sizes. For retrieval of the tool at the Maple reservoir, a tethered robotic device was used in favour of a trained diver, which increased the safety and efficiency of the retrieval process.

York Region was pleased with the inspection process and will be completing follow up engineering analysis as the leak and gas pocket survey and EM results become available.


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