March 16, 2019

The City of Lee’s Summit’s Water Utilities Department is taking a proactive approach to ensure the integrity of its pipeline infrastructure through the use of an innovative technology, known as PipeDiver. PipeDiver is a free-floating device, which will be used during a March 21 inspection to assess the condition of one of the City’s critical water transmission mains without interrupting water service to residents.

The City is working with HDR Engineering Inc. and Pure Technologies  to perform the inspection. PipeDiver will be inserted into the pipeline at the Bowlin Pumping Station near Northeast Maybrook Road. The device will then travel approximately six miles through the transmission main before being extracted near Northeast Douglas Street and East Chipman Road. As PipeDiver travels through the pipeline, its sensors collect data regarding the condition of the pipeline. This method was selected because it is a non-destructive testing method that can be done with the pipeline in service.

“This pipe was selected because we consider it one of our most critical pieces of infrastructure. If it fails, it could cause damage to the surrounding area because of the amount of water it carries and would severely impact our operations,” said Jeff Thorn, assistant director of engineering services for the City of Lee’s Summit. “The data collected during the inspection will allow us to detect structural weaknesses and make necessary repairs, to avoid any costly emergency situations.”

Since this inspection takes place while the pipeline is still in service, it is imperative to ensure there is no negative impact on the quality of the water. Before PipeDiver is inserted into the pipeline, it will be fully disinfected onsite using a chlorine solution.

Once the inspection is complete, the data is collected and analyzed to determine areas of concern. Pure Technologies will compile a report, which will aid in the development of an asset management strategy for the Water Utilities Department.