Previously on this blog, we've discussed the importance of using proper corrosion testing services on components used to build pipelines for municipalities and private utility companies. Beyond that, though, is the inspection of such pipelines, particularly those that are difficult to access from the outside. While inspection robots that can travel through the pipelines and perform inspections are starting to come into widespread use, there is still a long way to go, especially for smaller, under-monitored pipelines.
The complications that can arise from poor inspections and lackluster corrosion test equipment were in full view in San Diego on Sunday, when a break in the water main left some residents without running water and forced city authorities to shut down the intersection near the site of the incident.
According to San Diego Public Utilities spokesperson Arian Collins, reports of a broken water main reached authorities at about 7 a.m., after water from the ruptured pipe rose up through breaks in the asphalt and flooded onto the intersection Hawthorn Street and 31st Street.
"Corrosion to the six-inch cast iron pipe near the intersection was likely the cause of the break." Collins told Fox 5 in San Diego. "Crews were working to excavate the area to reach the pipe, about six feet below the street, and then cut out the broken section of pipe to replace it."
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the intersection was reopened at 3 p.m. that same day once repairs to the main had been completed. Water service to the affected households was also restored shortly afterwards.
In optimal situations, authorities would perform routine inspections on such pipelines to prevent utility lines to rupture and disrupt people's lives. However, the difficulty of accessing smaller underground pipes make such efforts impractical. That's why it's stressed that companies looking to install metal piping components look to acquire or outsource corrosion testing services.