Exxon Mobil and UGL-Kaefer ... take Advantage of Experience!
UGL-Kaefer is one of the most reputable international maintenance companies contracted to the Longford Gas Plant facility in Gippsland Victoria, one of many on behalf of their client Exxon Mobil. UGL-Kaefer was the consulting company working with Clearflow Australia.
During a shutdown at the site, Clearflow was contracted to pig the heater tubes of the gas-fired heater so they could be inspected to determine their use by date. The heater tubes had a buildup of carbon coke on the internal bores of all the pipelines. If the hardened buildup were not removed it would limit the life of the heater exchange unit, requiring the capital and obvious expense of commissioning another. A costly exercise!
The heaters are made up of numerous pipeline tubes each approximately 50 metres in length. The tube has 180 degree U-bends making a continuous tube pipeline approximately 300-400 metres total in length, consisting of 8 to10 in number, of 180 degree bends. With 4 inlet and outlet pipelines on each of the 3 levels the height of the heater exchange, it results in multiple bends and many metres of pipeline to clean.
The buildup in the tubes effectively reduced the flow by 30%.
The advantage of experience was crucial in selecting the correct pig to do the job. The pig must be:
- Capable of travelling through the pipe with sufficiency, in a continuous motion.
- Capable of removing the hardened carbon coke especially from the 180degree bends.
- Capable of negotiating the 180degree bends without jamming in the tube or on itself.
- Capable of being launched into the pipeline through the Clearflow pig trap.
- There must be sufficient flow and pressure to push the pig, remove the coke and exit the tubes with the debris.
After assessing the complexity of the situation Clearflow fabricated a pig consisting of impregnated short hard wire, capable of lasting multiple runs through the pipelines without breaking down. These pigs were durable enough to negotiate not only the total metres of pipelines and the 180-degree bends but also break down and REMOVE the hardened buildup of coke from the internal bores.
Clearflow designed and fabricated a pig trap or launcher needed to:
- Bolt directly to the existing pipelines
- Meet all safety requirements that are paramount on sites such as Longford.
- Be operationally friendly and secure.
- Quick release opening and closure.
The pig trap design means the closure is easily opened, the pig is inserted then closed and secured quickly, avoiding time-wasting procedures. Valves are then opened allowing pressure to build, forcing the pig to launch into the pipeline.
This procedure was executed over 4000 times. The pigs lasted the duration of the runs and the debris was removed, allowing between 98-100% refurbishment of the internal bores.
"The professionalism and flexibility shown by Clearflow to carry out this work for UGLK was a major part in this work being carried out and completed, the timescale we had in place to procure a pigging company's services was limited however David and his team responded instantly and provided the support we required to carry out these works on time and in a safe manner, hopefully we will work again in the not too distant future.".
Field Site Manager - UGL-Kaefer
Clearflow Audits Cobar Reticulation System!
Clearflow was initially engaged by Cobar Council to undertake an Air Scouring Programme. This was to improve the condition of the reticulation system, enhance potable water quality and reduce the number of dirty water complaints.
This task was difficult and remains a work in progress due to the lack of information of the water reticulation system and the time taken to gain enough knowledge of the system. The system lacks general maintenance, accurate map information, identification and general knowledge of any one nominated area.
Clearflow was engaged to undertake an audit of the assets and the reticulation system:
- Valves … location/working/reverse
- Hydrants … location/accessible/flow/pressure
- Improve map information/note accordingly
- Prove flows of sectional or nominated area.
- Prove shutdown and record sequence as required
- Resume original programme maintenance of the pipeline system.
Methodology and Execution
The methodology adopted by Clearflow was to shut down each area sectioned by valves, street by street and area by area, as required. Each area was reported on condition of valves and hydrants, flow and pressure testing in nominated areas, reverse valves noted and conditions of all asset fittings. A GPS reading was taken on each asset, numbered and recorded.
Methodically work through the town starting at the reservoirs heading into town proper. Using grids we proceeded systematically from the south side gradually moving north then east to west.
Numerous valves and hydrants were buried. Although they were marked on the maps over time have been buried, grown over or bitumen covered. A majority of valves in the reticulation system were found in the off position. This creates unnecessary dead-ends within the system it can reduce pressure to some areas whilst maintaining it in others. It simply fails a reticulation system. The valves found shut were returned to the open position, unless advised of other circumstances. There were a number of reverse valves within the system, these were marked accordingly on the report spreadsheet.
It was not necessary to test every hydrant. Each one however was checked for operational purposes, identification (incl. marker, curb or cats eye), relationship to map information, lid accessibility, spring-top accessibility, if buried, overgrown or bitumen covered. Each hydrant concealed for whatever reason, was located, checked, cleaned and temporarily painted for easy identification.
The presence of manganese and iron bio-film build up on the internal bore was high in most pipelines within the reticulation system. This was quite evident (in turning valves, and confirming flow tests) producing heavy black manganese precipitate.
A full report was presented to council on conclusion of our audit, including spreadsheet identifying GPS location and condition of every valve and hydrant within the reticulation system including photos.
The operation was concluded over an 8 week period providing Cobar Council the necessary data to commence a schedule maintenance programme either using in-house personnel or out-sourcing appropriate contractors.
Foresight Pays Off in Tenterfield!
Tenterfield a beautiful town nestled in a valley astride the Great Dividing Range. The first inhabitants were the Jukembal people and was a home for the first premier of NSW Sir Stuart Donaldson.
didn’t hesitate in taking up the opportunity of revisiting Tenterfield to help improve the delivery of water quality. Clearflow was contracted to remove the manganese build-up from the water reticulation system using our Air Scouring Technology Programme.
Manganese and Iron are natural products found in water. They form deposits as a bio-film on the internal bore of water pipelines. Over time this natural compound builds on the internal bore of the water reticulation system pipelines and will eventually break away and is discharged as a black precipitate. Even though water is processed through the treatment plant it is difficult to prevent this natural growth from forming.
Deanne Eaton, Manager Water and Waste
of the Tenterfield Shire is conscientious about delivering water quality. Aware of the concerns of some residents experiencing dirty, and at times odorous, water Deanne felt it was necessary to undertake an Air Scouring Programme, approximately 50kms of water main.
During a visit to Tenterfield some 8 years earlier, a decision was made to fit permanent pig traps or swabbing points in the bigger delivery mains for the purpose of future operations. The foresight of fitting permanent pigging launcher traps allowed for a Pigging Operation to be conducted in conjunction with our Air Scouring Programme, with no additional costs to the current contract price.
Disruption of water supply to the consumer is something some customers have trouble accommodating. With newspaper notification, radio advertising, letter drops even door knocks, no matter how well it is planned the actual shutdown does not suit everyone.
To assist with this issue, Clearflow
initiated a hailer system. Just prior to the area shutdown a drive-by was undertaken alerting customers of the pending disruption. Operation completed, the customers were advised using the same system of the service being back to normal. The procedure proved successful when paired with the normal notifications resulting in consumers being well informed.
It is the policy of Clearflow Australia
whilst conducting such programmes to limit the time of disruption to the consumer, and endeavour to work between 2-3 hours of inconvenience. This limits the scope of complaint from the consumer, whilst exercising sound customer management when it comes to programmed maintenance such as Air Scouring.
Value Adding our services is very much part of Clearflow’s
operation: identifying valves closed, buried under road surfaces or by natural ground growth; hydrants also buried or maybe requiring maintenance etc; these items are marked on the appropriate maps and/or as required identified on the hard surface, all to assist council staff for ongoing and future maintenance.
The programme proved very successful. The following was received from Deanne Eaton on completion of the operation:
"Thanks David. I actually had someone tell me this week that the water tastes so much better now that they don’t need a filter, so that makes a nice change from all the complaints. We will work through the areas you have identified and hopefully make the whole process a lot better for next time."
Manager Water and Waste - Tenterfield Shire Council
Too Much Salt is ... A Risk to Business!
was recently engaged to assess the condition of a pipeline that was literally … growing salt
A remote mining site operation in Australia’s southern states has access to a water supply from of a disused mine. The source has a very high salt content, so high that even the habitat animals and birdlife will not drink from it. The company uses the water to wet down the roads as part of a maintenance programme, which maintains and secures the quality of the surface of the major roads. The roads have been built by and require high daily maintenance from the mines, and are crucial to the mine's operation. Challenge
This salt build up in the pipeline literally grew in the pipeline, restricting flow and slowed pump efficiencies. The inefficiency virtually stopped the flow to the holding dams, reduced supply and slowed water quantities to the water trucks for road maintenance; resulting in … a risk to business
With the dry season approaching it was crucial to keep the wetting operations on the roads a priority so the multiple-tonne road trains could travel safely. Safety is very much a priority on most mine sites and this site was no exception. There was certainly no compromise in concerns for the safety of product or personnel whilst on site.
The pipeline in question had an internal high salt content which was continuously growing. The high presence of salt in the water virtually grew crystals around the edges of the water source. It formed heavy salt crystals over equipment, hoses and pipes, and it was not surprising for it to just keep building up in the pipeline. In water, although it kept multiplying in thickness, the substance itself remained soft; but exposed to air the salt crystallised and hardened like cement
Inspection of the pipeline confirmed pigging
would be a methodology for removing the debris, but the question remained: what type of pig would travel 20kms with all the build up sitting in the pipeline, and at the same time clean the internal bore?
We determined 3 different pig types would be used however a new problem arose, as we discovered. The efficiency of the pig type and our adopted procedures actually caused the salt to compound as it was removed from the walls of the pipe. This slowed the pigs’ momentum. It is important the pigs maintain volume propulsion for the correct speed to effectively remove the substance.Our methodology required changing. Although we had the pump power, pressure and water volume to push the pigs through the pipeline, it was the efficiency of the pigs that caused some of the problems.We used high-efficiency pigs, designed with jetting technology
. These pigs are specially designed to break up the substances and debris by creating turbulence ahead of the pig. There was simply too much debris in front of the pig and it jammed.
At this point we combined 2 other methods we use in refurbishing pipelines to assist with the execution, Air Scouring
and Air-Rod Technology. The idea was to help dislodge and break up the salt crystals sufficiently in order to reduce the amount of debris, and allow the pig to have a somewhat easier journey.
Due to the amount of debris that was being removed from the walls of the pipeline, it was necessary to create a number of entry and exit points along the pipeline, in order reduce the pressure of the compounding salt. Although this was somewhat time-consuming it was very effective. After the removal of this pressure at the half-way mark we ran our high efficiency jetting pigs to this point. This removed enough debris to fill 2 trucks.
We maintained this procedure for the remaining 10kms of pipeline, allowing us to finally pig the pipeline the full 20kms. Another sweeping pig run was completed over the complete length of the pipeline, confirming and restoring the internal bore to the original condition
The mining industry has continuous problems and most mine sites are remote. When the flow in these pipelines slows it is usually crucial to operations! A risk to business!
If the internal bore is reduced in size, either by heavy solids, or slurry and slime (or in this case, salt)
that have started to adhere to the internal bore, then they must be removed. Restricted flow slows efficiency, slows production, slows pumps! If efficiency is compromised, it increases maintenance and it increases costs.Clearflow uses specifically designed high-tech pigs, along with precise methodology procedures, to remove these inefficiencies. Clearflow will successfully clean these pipelines, restore flow rates, improve pump cycles, reduce operational and business risks and help meet relating schedules.
The cleaning operation meant pump cycles returned to efficiency, full water flows restored to the holding dams, the water trucks resumed road maintenance schedules, haulage trucks maintained continuity ... and risk to business was no longer a threat.We achieved the above within the time frame allocated, we met the contract criteria during the operations and achieved the results Clearflow Australia wanted and, more importantly, the expectations of the client.
Lower Murray Water – Clearflow Completes over 1.3 Million Metres of Pipeline Cleaning!
was contracted to undertake the biggest Air Scouring contract awarded in Australia for and on behalf of Lower Murray Water Authority in Victoria.
Lower Murray Water controls potable and non-potable water including the entire irrigation system for agriculture and horticulture farmers. This area extends from Mildura in the North to Swan Hill Rural City in the Southern Region, including some towns in the Gannawarra Shire. Challenge
With over 1,300 km of pipeline, Clearflow
used its Air Scouring methodology to successfully clean the internal bore of various size water mains. For a contract of this size Clearflow worked with an alliance partner; this was to ensure the highest standard of professionalism was maintained, from planning and documentation to the execution of the scope of works that was required.
Lower Murray Water in their foresight recognises the need for scheduled maintenance of their water reticulation system, and cleaning the pipelines is part of such maintenance. They set a high benchmark on what they wanted from Air Scouring and Clearflow, an their expectations of achieving successful results.ActionClearflow
's methodology of Air Scouring was used to remove the natural bio-films that continually grow in water. This growth adheres to internal bore of the pipeline and gradually multiplies on itself. Removing this bio-film and bacterial build-up maintains Australian Water Quality, and reduces chemical input. Air Scouring is less intrusive compared to some other methods. It is proven to be far more effective than a standard flushing programme, which is an ineffectual, futile exercise.
Our initial procedure involved notifying all customers of a pending shut-down of the water supply by the hand delivery of printed notices. Our planing of the shut-down was to minimise the period during which the consumers were without water. Schedules had to accommodate schools, medical practitioners, commercial and retail outlets. Environmental issues had to be addressed and complied with, along with appropriate documentation for works to be done, works completed and to ensure all safety procedures were followed.
It is Clearflow
's policy to Value Add to the work undertaken. A programme of Air Scouring not only gets the internal pipelines clean, it highlights any irregularities of the assets within the reticulation system. It is important during our operation all water flows are confirmed. All valves must be in the correct position and if they are not, or if they do not comply with the maps supplied, they are identified and marked before or as we proceed. This is the time to take advantage of these circumstances: correct the reticulation system maps, identify faulty, broken, covered or buried valves and hydrants, and confirm water flows within the system
This is value adding to Clearflow
’s Air Scouring Maintenance Programme for projects such as Lower Murray Water. It is part of Clearflow’s portfolio when contracted, to enhance our services and provide a complete refurbishment of the water reticulation system, in accordance with what is in the ground with the corresponding maps and documents.ResultClearflow Australi
a achieved the above within the time frame allocated, met the contract criteria during the operations and achieved the results Clearflow Australia wanted and, more importantly, the expectations of Lower Murray Water.
"Considering the scale of this job and the number of shutdowns, there were very few problems. I put this down to your technical knowledge of the job and the detailed planning you carried out prior, which was very impressive. I appreciated the co-operation between yourself and me and I know others found you easy to work with."
Mick Hawtin – Senior Technical Officer Engineering
Lower Murray Water
Gwidir Shire Council – A "Clear Flow" created in beautiful Bingara! …
Bingara is Aboriginal for "creek". This beautiful town is on the Gwydir River. It is located in the New England region of NSW, surrounded by native bird life in the ranges, with lush grazing country divided by the marinading water of this pristine river. It is one of the few places in Australia where diamonds have been found.
Bingara is the administration centre for Gwydir Shire Council. The council has recently invested and introduced a new treatment plant in their endeavours to maintain good quality potable water to the town and the residents. Challenge
Most of the town’s water mains were commissioned over 50 years ago, and these water pipelines have never been cleaned. This is years of gradually building up solid bio-film of manganese and iron deposits along with other bacterial substances, all adhering to the internal bore of the pipelines.
In a proactive move Gwydir Shire set out to balance the new treatment plant by removing this build up of bio-film from the internal bore of the water mains, and hopefully eliminate the continuous flow of dirty water complaints from sometimes irate customers.ActionClearflow Australia
was firstly consulted to determine the appropriate methodology to tackle this problem, and consequently engaged to remove the internal build up of debris from all the pipelines associated with the reticulation systems, using our Air Scouring Methodology Programme.
There are approximately 35kms of water mains within the reticulation system of various types and sizes of pipeline. Using the maps of the system as a guide Clearflow systematically went through the system from the reservoir to the extremities of the town.
It is policy of Clearflow
to Value Add to the work undertaken. A programme of Air Scouring not only gets the internal pipelines clean, it highlights any irregularities of the assets within the reticulation system. It is important during our operation all water flows are confirmed. All valves must be in the correct position and if they are not, or if they do not comply with the maps supplied, they are identified and marked before or as we proceed. This is the time to take advantage of these circumstances: correct the reticulation system maps, identify faulty, broken, covered or buried valves and hydrants, and confirm water flows within the system.
This is value adding to Clearflow Australia
’s Air Scouring Maintenance Programme for towns such as Bingara. It is part of Clearflow
’s portfolio when contracted, to enhance our services and provide a complete refurbishment of the water reticulation system in accordance with what is in the ground and the corresponding maps and documents.ResultClearflow Australia
completed these works within the given time frame and, very much so to the satisfaction of the Town Services Manager, Mr Andrew Cooper. Andrew mentioned he was impressed with the professionalism of Clearflow
, how they conducted and executed their programme and wouldn’t hesitate in recommending their services.
Treatment Plant Co-ordinator and Works Supervisor, Mr Rupert Wall said he was extremely impressed with the results and with the water quality now being delivered to the customer. He was also grateful for the additional information Clearflow
passed on regarding the reticulation system whilst undertaking the Air Scouring programme. This information is now registered and can be adjusted and recorded accordingly, he said.
Glen Innes Severn Council – Clearflow Cleans Celtic Country …
This country is steeped in Scottish tradition and is the site of Australia’s only official monument to the nation’s Celtic pioneers. Celtic Country is in the New England Tablelands of NSW and the town of Glen Innes that boast some of the best Murray cod fishing in Australia.
Glen Innes also had a high presence of manganese and iron in the water reticulation system pipelines. Clearflow Australia was contacted and contracted to assist with the removal of this build up from the water reticulation system. It was Clearflow’s second visit to the town; the first, last year, was to initially determine if our methodology of Air Scouring would be successful in this particular situation.
According to Council media releases issued by Keith Appleby, Manager of Integrated Water and Sustainability Services, Council is very conscious of this problem. Prior to the programme many residents experienced dirty water or at times odorous water in their taps. After witnessing the results of our initial visit, it was determined it would be in the best interest of the town of Glen Innes to undertake an Air Scouring Programme of approximately 70kms of water main.
The original pipeline system has been in the ground for 83 years and is in sound condition structurally but it has been that long since the pipelines have been cleaned beyond routine flushing operations. Manganese and iron, being natural substances present in water, can adhere to the internal bore of the pipeline and gradually over time the deposits grows on itself allowing bacterial debris to increase.
This growth if left unchecked will also reduce the internal bore size, restricting flow causing increased pump cycles in some cases; as well as dislodging chunks periodically, creating dirty water and of course complaints. Chlorine residual is difficult to maintain in the network as it is consumed by the iron and manganese – this creates the potential for biological contamination of reservoirs etc. to pass through untreated.
Our programme involved 3 weeks planning and scheduling of selected areas. Council staff together with our crew notified residents of the pending disruption to their water supply as we sequentially proceeded through the town. Specific consumers have to be well considered during such an operation e.g. schools, day care services, businesses, hospitals etc. These services were duly considered and the project proceeded with minimum fuss.
It is the policy of Clearflow Australia whilst conducting such programmes to limit the time of disruption to the consumer, and endeavour to work between 2-3 hours of inconvenience. This limits the scope of complaint from the consumer whilst exercising sound customer management when it comes to programmed maintenance such as Air Scouring.
There was a considerable amount of manganese and iron deposits removed from the pipelines. The programme was very successful, with clean water restored throughout the Glen Innes township.
In addition Clearflow will value add services; in this case, we were able to identify valves that were closed, maybe inadvertently, or buried under road surfaces along with hydrants requiring maintenance etc; these are then marked on appropriate maps to assist council staff with their future operations.
Savannah Nickel Mine – Clearflow Goes Underground
Recently Clearflow went underground in order to pig a slurry/tailings pipeline. Savannah Nickel Mine is situated 250kms east of Kununurra approximately 3 hours by road through the start of the Kimberly Ranges, a beautiful backdrop in this big country.
There are 2 pipelines in the mine pumping tailings (heavy slurry type material) from the foot of the mine where continued excavation is happening for this expensive commodity. The tailings lines are attached to the roof of the mine with a number of pumping stations within the mine for the tailings to be pumped to the surface.
The main problem for the operation was the pipelines silting up with this heavy sludgy material. This sludge sticks to the internal walls of the pipe and slows the pumping operation. The drag caused by the debris within the pipe is such that the pumps are working harder and harder to push the tailings to the surface.
The pipelines feed directly into a tailings storage dam. The dam is completely secured from any environmental infringements or issues that are so delicate and so important in protecting this part of the country. The mine company and management adhere to very strict environment procedures and these guidelines cannot be breached in any way.
Our project was to successfully remove the sludge from the pipeline, to make clean the internal bore. This would allow the pump cycles to operate efficiently and within the limits of design, there is less strain on the pumps, less maintenance and less operating expense.
Our crew required a full induction for working underground in the mine covering all aspects of the safety procedures. It was necessary to work from a lift platform in order to get to the pipelines, break the pipes, insert the pigs and remove the solid build-up from the internal bore.
After 3 runs the pumps were working within the limits and the bulk of debris was removed.
Our estimation of 5 pig runs per pipeline would prove correct for cleaning and completely removing the tailings sludge from the internal bore of pipeline, and the Clearflow pigging operation was again successful.
Etheridge Shire Council – Clearflow Cleans Up the Top End – Raw Water Pipeline.
undertook the pigging of a raw water delivery pipeline in the Top End Gulf Country. The source of supply for this raw water pipeline was from a dam ... gravity fed to the treatment plant.
This pipeline was commissioned over 50 years ago and had never been cleaned. With the gravity fed delivery the amount of water arriving at the treatment was slowing. The demand for treated water was outstripping supply. The bio-film slime, manganese and debris was 15mm thick on the internal bore of the pipeline and was obviously restricting the delivery of water to the treatment plant. A crucial problem in a gravity fed pipeline.
There were no as-constructed maps of the pipeline, nor was there an actual path for the pipeline to be followed. The terrain after 40-50 years was in some parts impassable, through creeks and some really heavy overgrowth. If the pig was get stuck or if a main break did happen was something we did not need.
In order to clean this pipeline, remove this debris from the internal bore and push it the 7klms to the treatment plant we needed to establish an entry point amongst the undergrowth at the dam site and cut in and fit our launching equipment.
It is important when launching the pigs to not only get the pig into the pipeline but the correct speed must be maintained in order to clean and not jam the pig in the pipeline due to the amount of sludge in front of the pig.
Using our experience and methodologies of execution and with proper preparation we not only were able to track the pigs along the way, we determined the speed of the pig, the amount of debris in front of the pig and the estimated time it would take for the pig to arrive at the discharge point.
After 3 pig runs we successfully removed the debris from the pipeline. This resulted in delivering more water to the treatment, with the plant meeting the requirements of supply, more efficiently
"We engaged Clearflow Australia to clean a raw water pipeline that had not been cleaned since being commissioned in 1990. Their professional approach and knowledge of pipeline pigging was proven with the successful cleaning of this pipeline. We would have no hesitation in utilizing Clearflow for this type of work again".
Shane ButlerFacilities & Services Overseer - Etheridge Shire Council
Gas Pipeline – Victoria.
The pipeline owner/operator had constructed a new line from an existing pipeline to a new site, however no gas was getting through the new line. It was apparent that water had entered at some point of the pipeline during construction and was preventing the gas getting to the new connection.
The construction team did not want to cut into the pipeline due to the presence of gas and the possibility of an explosion. The experienced technicians from the alliance partnership of Clearflow Australia
and Horizon Industrial Pty Limited were consulted, and were faced with not only locating the blockage but the additional problem of removing the water from the pipeline. It was necessary to determine a source of propulsion to initially get the pig into the line, then travel through the pipeline, locate the blockage, and then remove the blockage at the same time.
The team decided to use compressed air as the best course of action. Our expertise in air scouring and pigging of pipelines was invaluable in determining our calculations. Consideration to the length and diameter of the gas line, the amount of air to not only get the pig into the pipeline but to propel it through the pipe at precise speed and momentum to meet the blockage, get through and remove it, and clean and remaining debris.
The blockage was removed along with excess debris and the pipeline dried of water residue, allowing a clean flow of gas into the new connection.
Another successful project delivered by our team of experts.
SA Water – Adelaide Hills, SA.
The pipeline owner/operator had been experiencing operational problems with their DN200 x 7.5 kilometre long Sewer Mains such as service interruption, pumping inefficiencies and pipeline failures due to the steady build-up of debris in the internal bore of the pipeline.
In order to reduce costly repairs and ongoing maintenance it was decided to clean the pipeline using experienced Pigging Services technicians from the alliance partnership of Clearflow Australia
and Horizon Industrial Pty Limited.
High-efficiency “Jetting” Pigs were employed to clear choking debris from the mains and the location of pigs could be confirmed at any point along the pipeline using state-of-the-art Pig Locating and Tracking Equipment. “Jetting” technology creates turbulent flow which prevents ‘compacting’ and blockages occurring in the pipeline ahead of the pig. The majority of collected solids are retained in suspension as Pipeline Pigs travel through the line.
After two Pigging runs, the majority of debris had been cleared from the pipeline and the pumping efficiencies had returned to peak levels. The project was completed in two days and within budget.
Duaringa Shire – Dawson River, QLD
The 150 mm diameter pipeline is ten kilometres in length, pumping raw water from the Dawson River to the treatment plant to service parts the Duaringa Shire, Queensland. Clearflow Australia
was contracted to remove the internal debris and weed growth built up in the pipeline over a period of ten years.
Due to the location of the site and the urgency of the program, Clearflow Australia
worked purely on telephone communication and faxed documents in order to fabricate a pig launcher to suit the conditions onsite. There was no confident local knowledge of the pipeline and the only map available was a longitudinal section map. Most of the pipeline is located in bush terrain with difficult access, and had a number breaks in certain sections and unknown debris in the pipe. As the pipeline had no offshoot sections or designed breaks it was necessary for the pig to travel the entire ten kilometres and achieve the desired result. If the wrong type of pig is used and too much debris is dislodged too early the pig could jam up in the pipe. On the other hand, if the pig is too soft it may break up during the run. Or if the pig travels too quickly we may not get a true idea on the condition of the pipe or the type and amount of debris that is in the pipe to be removed. At the time of fitting the launcher the pipeline showed signs of encrustation with a large amount of weed slime and sludge – the aftermath of pumping raw water.
normal procedure on the first run is to try and determine the condition of the pipe. The first run took approximately four hours to travel the pipe, removing large amounts of sludge and slime.
This initial run was not without complications. The pig did jam up with the amount of debris in the pipe and it was decided to release the pressure in the pipe. In doing so, Clearflow
drained some of the pipe to get another run with the pig and to try and dislodge the debris.
Under normal conditions the first-run pigs or proving pigs will float, however, in this case, when they were finally discharged from the pipe they were so full of sludge and slime that they just settled on the bottom of the discharge pond. They were stuck in the sludge and at the bottom of the pit.
It is necessary when refurbishing pipelines to try and control the speed of the pigs through the pipeline. After two proving runs Clearflow
was confident the pipeline was reasonably true and launched the working pig; a harder compound, poly-foam pig. This purpose of running this pig was to remove all of the debris of weed sludge and slime as well as any harder encrustation.
not only removed large amounts of raw water slime sludge and weed growth, but also the heavy scale evident in the bottom of the discharge pit. There were also signs of manganese mixed up with the weed growth. The pig launcher that was specially fabricated and adapted for the existing fittings is now a permanent fixture of the pipe at the river end.
The final analysis was improved water quality delivery with increased flow rate to the dam of 60 per cent. This alone decreased the operating costs of pumping water.
Sunstate Cement Ltd. – Brisbane, QLD
Sunstate Cement Ltd was experiencing the build up of hardened cement deposits and repeated blockages in the plant’s extraction pipelines, resulting in shutdowns and considerable downtime. All previous attempts to rectify the problem by water blasting had failed, and the only alternative was pipe replacement at an estimated cost of $40K-$50K. Clearflow Australia
was contracted to remove the cement deposits from the internal bore.
The material build up on the internal bore was hardened concrete. There was also considerable cement deposit on the bends. Clearflow’s
assessment was to design a pig strong enough to withstand the hardness of the cement, but allowing flexibility to negotiate the bends affected by the hard cement deposits, whilst being propelled through the pipeline.
After inspection and a considerable amount of consultation and analysis, Clearflow Australia
designed and fabricated special pigs suitable for the operation. Over a limited timeframe allocated during a programmed shut-down, approximately 450 metres of affected pipeline were progressively pigged.
De-scaling and removal of hard cement deposits and wastewater sludge resulted in an increase of 15% in production of each cycle, which equates to 3 hours on a 24 hours cycle, and improved product quality. Savings were also achieved in power consumption (considerable in operating a plant of this size), wear and tear on compressors, diesel motors and other equipment. The operation saved the company over $70K in pipeline replacement and production downtime.
“ … a very impressive operation – for an increase in production cycles as high as 15% is a great saving to plant operations .. we fully endorse this method of increasing flow rates and cost savings in daily production!”
Mr Michael SygroveConsulting Engineer – Connell Wagner, Brisbane
“If you told me your process was going to save me 15% per cycle I would have told you to go away, and stop kidding yourself.”
Mr Mark Tonkin
Operations Supervisor – Sunstate Cement Ltd
Tweed Shire Council – NSW
The Tweed Shire Council decided to employ a continuous Preventative Maintenance Programme and contracted Clearflow Australia
to implement this programme in conjunction with their Water Department.Action
The scope of works undertaken by Clearflow Australia
• Hydrant and Valve Refurbishment
• Hydrant and Valve Maintenance
• Cleaning of water mains via Air Scouring or Pigging Methodologies
The combination of these programmes has been advantageous to the Council, as the hydrants and valves were located, tested, refurbished or replaced, and maintained prior to the cleaning process.
This Preventative Maintenance Programme ensured that all equipment was being maintained to optimal condition by a continuous and diligent schedule of works. This also allowed for records to be maintained and updated whilst being able to determine any problems. It also resulted in reducing dirty water complaints and minimised chemical use.
Reference:Mr Peter Haywood
Water Engineers Management – Tweed Shire Council, NSW