The Importance of Pipeline Inspections

Oil and gas pipelines are a critical part of our nation’s infrastructure. They’re responsible for safely and efficiently transporting products from mining sites, through facilities, and to communities. With so much relying on these pipelines, it’s important to ensure that they remain in good shape. Leaks, corrosion, and other damage can be dangerous to the surrounding environment and communities. Pipeline inspections allow oil and gas companies to better maintain their infrastructure, preventing such damage from occurring. You can learn more about the importance of pipeline inspections and what they protect with this overview.

What Do Pipeline Inspections Entail?

In order to ensure that pipelines remain safe and effective, you need a thorough inspection process. Inspectors can take a closer look at pipelines by isolating a section of pipe with inflatable pipe plugs and running pressure tests. These tests provide an obvious and easy way to locate any weaknesses in the pipeline. This allows pipeline workers to quickly and accurately perform any repairs or replacements. Other types of inspections use pipeline pigs, cameras, and other equipment to evaluate the flow, condition, and other details about the pipeline while it’s in action.

Preserving Environmental Health

Pipeline leaks can destroy the surrounding environment. Nearby vegetation can wither as chemicals seep into the soil. This can also add to water pollution if there are any water sources in the area. The damage to the earth also affects any local wildlife, who may lose their homes, food sources, or become sick from ingesting the chemicals from the pipeline. Natural gas pipelines also pose a risk of releasing chemicals into the air, adding to climate change and local air pollution.

Human Health and Safety

The importance of pipeline inspections extends beyond just environmental health. Local populations and communities also face the dangers of leaking or faulty pipelines. Water and air pollution from a damaged pipeline can harm nearby communities. Even more urgent are natural gas leaks, which can cause dangerous explosions. Chemical leaks from pipelines can also cause or worsen illnesses as people breathe in chemicals or ingest contaminated food or water.

Pipeline inspections serve to catch weak spots before they turn into dangerous leaks, preventing these and other hazards from damaging nearby environments and communities for years to come.