Detected by Enview for Pipelines – Topographic Change

What did Enview find?

During April 2018, Enview’s Topographic Change Module (part of the Enview for Pipelines application) automatically identified significant removal of earth on a patch of farmland that was located directly within a pipeline ROW. The landowner had terraced a hill to build a vineyard and in the process had significantly altered the topography inside the pipeline ROW. This was detected by applying advanced change detection to 3D data.

Why is this important?

According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHSMA), third-party excavations are one of the leading causes of pipeline incidents in the USA. These incidents can lead to service disruptions, expensive repairs, and sometimes serious injuries and death. Over the last three years, excavation damage led to six fatalities, 33 injuries and cost pipeline operators about $100 million in losses. 

Detecting signs of excavation or earth movement via aerial patrolling is challenging. Further resource limitations make it difficult for pipeline operators to continuously monitor remote areas such as farms.

What actions were taken?

When faced with this type of activity, a pipeline operator will take immediate steps to assess the physical integrity of the pipeline. According to PHSMA, excavation damage is often caused by lack of awareness of pipelines existing underground. “Call Before You Dig” programs are a great solution to this problem, but people often dig without checking this valuable resource. By using the Topographic Change Module, the client now has a very accurate measurement of changes to the depth of cover over the pipe. With this information, they can ensure third parties are aware of the pipe’s location before substantial damage is caused.


Article originally published on LinkedIn: