Strategic solutions for risk-mitigation

Syrinix works with Minerva to analyse the risk-mitigation benefits of its high-resolution pipeline monitoring and leak detection solutions. The analysis reveals the practical applications and advantages of using high-resolution acoustic correlation and pressure monitoring, including the potentially economic benefits.

Map shows example units situated along a main trunk, working together using precision network time stamping for data accuracy.


The risk of failure
Minerva’s analysis focused on how Syrinix’s solutions mitigate risk to trunk mains, the critical water lines that carry water through the network.

All pipe materials can suffer damage, especially older assets with less sophisticated manufacturing, raw materials variations, and quality control deficiencies. Even newer pipe materials, while more reliable, can be damaged during storage, transportation, or installation.

Of course, all materials, old or new, suffer corrosion and “pressure fatigue”, which reduces the pipe material’s plasticity, diminishing its flexibility and durability. Corrosion and pressure surges can result in thinned pipe cracking, with each subsequent surge spreading the crack.

These defects are intermittent and impossible to predict. Deterioration models estimate service life and the likelihood of failure, but they do not predict a failure’s location.

The costs of failure
Trunk main failure can create far-reaching consequences for any water company and its customers and communities. The impact of a damaged water main is seen most apparently in the water supply’s interruptions – to potentially thousands of customers. Repair costs, which must be quick and efficient, can be high.

However, a damaged main can also create a range of economic and societal consequences.

A catastrophic main failure can quickly release large volumes of water into the surrounding environment – up to 1,500 litres per second, inundating the site and surrounding area. Water jets can reach a velocity of 90mph, scouring the bedding and adjacent infrastructures below ground while inciting considerable damage above ground. Flooding can damage roads, rails, and electricity while potentially flooding basements.

Depending upon the pipe material, the explosive force of a main failure can equal 200 pounds of dynamite, a force capable of throwing debris 200 feet.

While the localised damage can be significant, the economic and societal impact of supply interruption or the damage of roads, railways, airports, gas, electricity, and communications can be dramatic. Local issues such as travel disruption and closure of schools and businesses can have a broader impact on national and international trade and logistics.

James Dunning is CEO for Syrinix, and Ross Fisher is CEO at Minerva IAM.

The full article is published in the Water & Wastewater Asia Nov/Dec 2021 issue. To continue reading, click here.