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3 Ways to Protect Your PCCP Now and into the Future

Obtaining actionable condition insights helps utilities prevent sudden and high-consequence PCCP failures. But is your asset management plan equipped to prevent tomorrow’s failures? Explore three ways you can ensure PCCP assets operate safely over the long term. 

Condition assessment offers a more predictable and cost-effective way to manage prestressed concrete cylinder pipe (PCCP). Proactive, data-driven PCCP management transforms the traditional way of thinking about service life as a finite age. It shifts the approach from wasteful, age-based replacement to ongoing risk-based management. 

Pipeline inspection and data analysis help utilities determine where to make repairs to prevent near-term failures and extend pipeline life. However, your data can also inform long-term capital and operational planning to prevent tomorrow’s failures. 

1. Analyze Remaining Useful Life 

Inspection offers a snapshot of pipe condition in time. However, not all pipes with deterioration require immediate repair.  Remaining useful life (RUL) analysis helps utilities determine next steps and manage buried infrastructure within acceptable levels of risk.

Xylem’s RUL analysis combines electromagnetic inspection results with an unparalleled global inspection database to forecast the future condition of each pipe. Combined with structural analysis, deterioration simulations forecast how long a pipeline is likely to operate before a failure is expected. It provides reliable, actionable information about when intervention is justified. This data-driven analysis also informs capital budgeting for repairs or other mitigation strategies, enabling utilities to plan ahead and focus their resources in the right place, at the right time. 

2. Reinspect and Address

The timing of reinspection depends on how quickly pipes are degrading, the utility’s risk tolerance, and any risk reduction measures taken following the initial condition assessment. 

Regular reinspection identifies new areas of pipe distress and determines whether existing problem areas are worsening over time. With each reinspection, utilities also gain more data on pipe deterioration rate to decrease uncertainty and better refine remaining useful life predictions.     

3. Keep a Watchful Eye   

Periodic reinspection may not meet a utility’s risk mitigation goals if degradation forecasts show that some pipes are likely to fail in the near future. Monitoring can further reduce risk for critical PCCP pipelines.  

Xylem’s SoundPrint® AFO monitoring platform provides continuous, near-real-time wire break data, so utilities can track PCCP deterioration over time. This advanced warning system also helps utilities avoid failures that could be missed, even with regular reinspection. With this wealth of data, utilities can predict with much greater confidence the amount of time a pipe can remain in service 

Data-driven reinspection, informed capital planning, and monitoring can help utilities efficiently allocate resources, reduce risk, and maximize pipeline life over the long term. With the strategies discussed in this blog and our series, utilities can prevent failures today and into the future to ensure dependable infrastructure for generations to come. 

Check out the first blog in our Where to Start series to learn why PCCP fails and how a proactive management approach benefits utilities. 

Read the second blog in our Where to Start series for more information on inspecting PCCP and taking action on your condition data.   

Learn more about proactive PCCP management.