V&A leads specialist team to fight corrosion in large-diameter pipelines

To help municipal public works agencies manage underground infrastructure assets more effectively, Oakland-based V&A Consulting Engineers has established the Civil Infrastructure Assessment Group (CIAG), a team of specialist firms offering capabilities for investigation and assessment of large-diameter wastewater pipelines. Member firms include V&A, Brenford Environmental Services, National Plant Services Inc., the Pressure Pipe Inspection Company Ltd., and RedZone Robotics...

Nov 27th, 2007

• Corrosion expert urges "meaningful asset management" for wastewater facilities

OAKLAND, CA, Nov. 26, 2007 -- To help municipal public works agencies manage underground infrastructure assets more effectively, Oakland-based V&A Consulting Engineers has recently established the Civil Infrastructure Assessment Group (CIAG), a team of specialist firms offering state-of-the-art capabilities for investigation and assessment of large-diameter wastewater pipelines.

Member firms include V&A, Brenford Environmental Services (Pearland, TX), National Plant Services Inc. (Long Beach, CA), the Pressure Pipe Inspection Company Ltd. (Mississauga, Ontario) and RedZone Robotics (Pittsburgh, PA).

"The plan is to help clients achieve meaningful asset management by offering a single, flexible, rapid-response source for many of the best available technologies," says Jose L. Villalobos, P.E., founder and president of V&A, a leading corrosion control firm with offices in Oakland, San Diego and Houston.

"Asset-management problems with wastewater facilities usually arise due to incomplete or inadequate assessment of existing conditions," Villalobos says. "Many sewer systems haven't been inspected since they went into service. For older systems there may not even be a reliable inventory, let alone 'as-built' drawings or complete records. Without real information, management has to rely on a desktop analysis and hope their assumptions about actual conditions are correct. As a result, billions of dollars' worth of critical public assets are now being managed based on an educated guess."

CIAG, in contrast, will provide real-time quantitative data, Villalobos says, using a wide range of advanced capabilities including inspection robotics, remote closed-circuit TV, electromagnetic inspection, digital sensors, and high-speed water-jet cleaning to expose pipeline surfaces.

"These new technologies are the only way to get a clear picture of actual, real-world conditions," Villalobos explains. "Many facilities cannot be entered for inspection because they are always full of water or otherwise inaccessible, or because the system is one that has to operate 24/7. Our approach is designed to provide the best possible information in order to support the best asset management decisions."

Several other companies are expected to join the CIAG team soon, bringing additional specialized capabilities. "This is a dynamic consortium," Villalobos noted, "that will add members as their technologies become commercially available."

Brenford Environmental Systems, formerly Garner West, is an industry leader in large-diameter sewer cleaning.

National Plant Services, a Carylon Corporation company, specializes in environmental maintenance services: sewer cleaning; closed-circuit TV inspection of sewers; infiltration/inflow control; manhole rehabilitation; sewer system studies; catch basin cleaning; preventative sewer maintenance programs; digester cleaning; pit and tank cleaning; heavy industrial vacuum services; non-destructive utility locating; and high-pressure water blasting.

The Pressure Pipe Inspection Company extends the life of prestressed concrete cylinder pipelines (PCCP) with state-of-the-art inspection systems that provide the most accurate infrastructure evaluation currently available for all types of water and force mains.

RedZone Robotics Inc. develops innovative, semi-automated products and technologies that reduce costs and simplify operations for clients in the industrial, nuclear, and defense markets. For the water and wastewater markets, RedZone designs, manufactures and operates systems that inspect large-diameter pipes using an array of digital and measurable sensors.

V&A is full-service corrosion engineering firm founded in Oakland, California in 1979, with full-service offices in San Diego and Houston and a field office in Las Vegas.

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