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Comprehensive pipeline screening to understand infrastructure condition & proactively avoid failure

Burlington, VT

The Champlain Water District utilized a variety of methods, including high-resolution inline leak and air pocket inspection, transient pressure monitoring (TPM), and a structural design check to ensure a critical transmission pipe’s design was sufficient for current operational conditions.

Topics Covered

Asset Management


Initial: 62 Thousand USD


General Fund/Existing Public Funds


Project Status

Operational since 2019

Gov Champion

Champlain Water District Engineering Department

Problem Addressed

After conducting their own risk prioritization plan, Joe Duncan, Chief Engineer for Champlain Water District (CDW), and his team adopted a proactive mindset and began a transmission main asset management program.

While the transmission system is relatively “young” and had no real break history, visual feedback from crews showed distribution mains in the vicinity of the transmission mains were experiencing corrosion-related breaks and in some instances looking like “Swiss cheese”. Due to the high importance of the transmission pipeline, CWD wanted to understand its condition and forestall potential corrosion issues.

Solutions Used

For 29 days, sensors were used to record the operational pressures and surges of the assessment portion of the pipeline.

By monitoring pressure transients, and the source of these events, Champlain Water District could identify operational practices that were adding stress to their pipelines. This early warning helps manage damaging pressure variations and mitigate the risks associated with premature pipe failure, prolonging the effective life of infrastructure assets. Additionally, Xylem’s innovative SmartBall technology platform, which identifies leaks and gas pockets in transmission pipelines while the line remains in service, was recommended for its acoustic sensitivity to small leaks, minimal pipeline modifications required for insertion and extraction and its ability to inspect long distances in a single deployment. The final part of the condition assessment was a structural design check to determine if the 1972 pipeline was up to the latest AWWA pipeline standards and could comply with today’s loading conditions.



The design check confirmed that the pipe design was sufficient for current loading


Acoustic monitoring identified no leaks or gas pockets


Transient monitoring revealed no harmful pressure surges


Anticipated repair funding was able to be re-allocated to other work projects including valve improvements and redundancy work

Something Unique

The across-the-board belief and support in the value of a proactive asset management approach by all departments within the utility. All stakeholders truly saw the value in the program and were actively engaged in the process.

Who Should Consider

Small to medium-sized water utilities and any other proactive/innovative utility looking to push their asset management program forward.

Last Updated

May 23rd, 2019
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