pipeline integrity inspection (sometimes called pipeline integrity assessment) is often specified in site environmental licences such as IED, IPC and Waste Licences.  Many such licences in Ireland also require pipeline integrity inspection of storm water and foul water (i.e. domestic effluent) lines.

Leaks from oil pipes, effluent pipes and pipes carrying oil and chemicals can leak undetected for years and thereby cause local soil contamination and possible contamination of surface and ground water.  The potential clean-up cost could run into millions and may not be covered by ensure, especially if there are no records of pipeline integrity assessment.


Pipeline integrity inspection methods

Environmental Efficiency can undertake pipeline integrity inspections in full accordance with EPA and other regulators’ guidance.  Test methods include hydrostatic testing and air pressure testing and pigging.  Where the air pressure of hydrostatic test shows that the pipe leaks, a CCTV inspection can then be used to identify the cause of the leak.


Pipeline CCTV inspection

In some case sites have arranged CCTV inspections of their pipelines instead of air pressure or hydrostatic testing.  However, whilst a CCTV inspection will identify many visual defects, a CCTV inspection will not determine if a pipe is water tight.  The only way to prove water tightness is by an air pressure or hydrostatic test (see above).  It is possible that an integrity assessment report based just on CCTV inspection will be rejected by the regulator.


Assessment of above ground pipelines

Where pipes run above ground, it is possible that ground and surface water contamination can be caused by leaks from valves, flanges and other fittings. Often the EPA require an assessment to determine whether retention of leaks from valves and other fittings is required.  Environmental Efficiency can carry out these assessments and have undertaken such assessments for large pharmaceutical plants and board mills. It is often the case that the assessment determines that either no retention is required as the site is fully bunded, or minimal remediation work is required.

In addition to pipeline integrity assessment, Environmental Efficiency also offers advice on bund integrity assessments and firewater integrity assessments.