It is not uncommon to double flow (and more) in old lines.
Reduced Pumping Costs:
Power saving can be dramatic in large lines.
Impurities such as Red Water can be eliminated.
Due to good results and minimum service downtime.
In the case of removing heavy build-ups from pipes
a “progressive” pigging method is used
which maximises cleaning safety
A selection of projects which presented some unique challenges with successful results include:
Clearflow Australia 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.
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.
Clearflow Australia 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.
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.
Clearflow'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.
Clearflow Australia 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.
Comments and testimonials from this customer are available on request.
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 theClearflow pigging operation was again successful.
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.
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.
The Council was experiencing a recurring dirty water problem, despite being previously cleaned.
On inspection, it was recommended that due to the heavy manganese deposit build-up on the internal bore of the large feeder lines, they should first be Pigged, to allow an Air Scouring operation to be implemented on the smaller feeder lines, otherwise the desired results of a cleaning programme would not be achieved. In addition, during the subsequent Air Scouring programme it was discovered many inoperable hydrants, and outdated Council plans.
Clearflow specially designed and fabricated launchers which were cut into the existing pipelines as permanent fixtures to facilitate future pigging programmes and reduce costs.
Clearflow also were able to compile a report on a programme of replacement and refurbishment of hydrants, valves and lines, and update the Councils plans.
The pigging operation successfully removed the manganese build-up from the main lines from the treatment plant, allowing the Air Scouring operation to be more effective. With inspection and restoration of the existing hydrants and valves, the result was cleaner water quality and improved water pressure. The Council reported that the successful combination Maintenance Package of pigging the larger mains and allowing the smaller pipelines to be air scoured proved most effective and very economical.
Clearflow was contacted to address a problem the Council was experiencing with the delivery of raw water through a cast-iron pipeline from the weir to the treatment plant.
The pipeline was 375mm in diameter and approximately 2.7km in length. It was commissioned in 1930 and had never been cleaned, and in addition the pipeline was constructed using lead joints. The likelihood of debris buildup was considerable, restricting flow, with the likely debris from an unlined cast iron pipe amounting to accumulated slime, sludge, iron leach, manganese, mussel shell, weed growth, metal nodules and general encrustation.
After inspection and consultation with the council, it was the recommendation by Clearflow to Progressively Pig the pipeline. Consideration was given to the age, size, condition of the pipeline including lead joints, distance the pig needed to travel, type of pig used and the speed at which it was essential to run to successfully clean the line. The site conditions with the discharge of debris, and the amount of debris was also considered.
It was decided to pig this line against the regular flow, therefore new fixtures and additional connections were required both at the treatment plan and the pump station. Clearflow specially designed and fabricated a launcher which was cut into the existing pipeline as a permanent fixture to facilitate future pigging programmes and reduce costs.
After running four pigs covering the full length of the pipeline, the resulting discharge was an oily black consistency, and the debris collected was six 200 litre drums of mussel shell, weed growth and encrustation. After the operation, there was a 25% increase in the pump cycle.
Clearflow was contacted as the Council was experiencing dirty water problems.
On inspection, numerous problems with the reticulation system such as unknown locations and non-operational stop-valves were encountered.
Clearflow implemented a Air Scouring programme, with thorough logging of areas of concern so the Council was able to update their records and schedule all remedial works required.
Due to the success of the initial programme, the Council has implemented a more structured Maintenance Program, with an annual Air Scouring programme under sequential planning and within the parameters of the Council’s budget.
To conduct an air scouring programme in the western mining towns of Dysart and Middlemount.
The Town of Middlemount did not have sufficient valves or hydrants fitted in the system to successfully conduct the operation. To do so meant the entire township would have unnecessary and extended water disruptions over the period of the operation (envisaged 14 days) with limited results. Due to isolated location, delivery of materials was difficult, so a programme of this magnitude required sound planning and expertise.
Clearflow was contracted to increase the number of valves and hydrants into the reticulation system, so the Air Scouring operation could proceed. Using existing water reticulation plans, Clearflow implemented the changes, supplying and installing a total of 46 units of varying sizes cut into the existing pipeline system, with minimal disruption to the town supply. The entire operation covered two months in one-month blocks. The second stage included the long-awaited Air Scouring operation for Middlemount.
The entire water reticulation system was improved to meet normal maintenance standard and water quality was enhanced. Clearflow was involved in the entire process, from initial planning through to the cleaning operation and completion.