The water distribution system is typically underground and is a huge network of underground water pipelines made of Mild steel (MS). The total length of these underground pipes is around 20 km. The water distribution system is a Tree Distribution Network, with pipe diameters of 400, 700, 900, and 1200 mm buried at a depth of up to 3 m.
In such cases, if a section of pipeline breaks down, then several downstream operations get affected, which results in shutting down the operations due to unavailability of water. Currently, there is no proactive method of inspecting the health of buried pipelines. It is essential that the pipeline network should be repaired in the shortest duration possible, whenever a leakage is reported. However, identifying the leakage origin is not easy and often requires extensive digging to detect the leakage(s).
As part of preventive maintenance, it is essential to undertake a timely health assessment of underground pipes and plan the repair of damaged portions before the bursting of pipes. Any inspection method needs to consider the surface material (bitumen pitch, concrete, etc.), type of soil, and depth of pipelines from the surface. It is possible that the depth of the pipe network will vary with location due to the absence of flat terrain in the plant area.
Thus, we seek solutions for proactive health assessment of underground pipes in running conditions, so that sudden leakages can be avoided, and replacement of pipes can be planned.