Reasons why regular pipeline monitoring is essential in high-consequence areas

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Climate change and its consequences have never been so apparent before. Extreme weather events have become a common phenomenon. The intensity of natural disasters like floods, landslides, forest fires, and earthquakes has dramatically gone up. While some parts of the world are battling erratic rainfall, some countries are struggling with tropical storms or high-magnitude earthquakes. The damage caused by these catastrophes touches billions in monetary value. Industries and facilities located in such high-risk areas bear high consequences of such events. Providers of subsurface infrastructure like pipelines are constantly worried about the safety and productivity of their assets. Tank facility owners and operators often require help from water tank inspection services providers to ensure uninterrupted operations during a disaster. 

Before constructing any facility or installing subsurface infrastructure like pipelines, one must thoroughly access the location. If the site is prone to natural calamities, it would be marked as a high consequence area. Besides this, facilities situated in an area that could get affected by pipeline leaks, oil or chemical spills, or explosions are required to be regularly inspected and overseen. Since any operational danger can put the lives of people, wildlife, and the environment at risk, facility owners must be cautious. In terms of destruction of property and threat to human life, the high consequence areas have a greater chance of experience damage during geohazard events. According to the federal government, High Consequence Areas or HCAs are impact zones with 20 or more structures planned for occupancy by humans. Areas or structures that are marked as impact zones by concerning authorities are also considered HCAs. 

Besides this, one should never forget that there are numerous below-ground perils to be mindful of. 

If the HCA assigned area is in proximity to the following, the consequence of the hazards can be more profound. 

  • Educational institutes and highly populated areas that fall on the premises of HCA
  • Water tables and underground water resources
  • Subsurface assets like underground pipelines
  • Endangered ecosystems or habitats
  • Above ground assets like towers, cables, electrical wires

What happens if pipelines or subsurface assets are not properly maintained?

Oftentank inspection services professionals are asked what happens if pipelines and tanks are not properly maintained and monitored or poorly kept. Poorly monitored tanks and pipelines are susceptible to leak or mechanical failures. The lines or nodes could leak due to corrosion or other reasons. 

In High Consequence Areas, pipeline or tank leaks can lead to the destruction of the environment and cause harm to the sustainability of the ecosystem or human population. If the leak or corrosion is not tested and corrected in time, the entire infrastructure could crumble. 

The first step to preventing such catastrophic events is conducting an integrity management review to understand what all assets are at stake. Pipeline monitoring will allow facility owners to ensure comprehensive security of the infrastructure and its assets and enhance its operations and functionality. Through regular monitoring, inspection professionals can check the risk areas and take necessary steps to safeguard them. The fiber optic monitoring technique is also proving effective in detecting leakage and other concerns. The use of new techniques also makes the transfer of data quick and easy. …