Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Need for building and retrofitting critical pipelines in the U.S.

Date:
October 28, 2013
Source:
Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
Summary:
If the U.S. is to meet important challenges of the 21st century, a new paradigm for the building and retrofitting of critical pipeline infrastructure system will be required, one that addresses the conflicting goals of diverse economic, environment, societal, and policy interests, according the engineer who has led the development of a National Pipeline Infrastructure Database.

Four years ago, America's energy infrastructure system earned a "D+" and the water infrastructure system earned a "D" on its report card, issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Unfortunately, not much has changed. The professional society gave energy and water infrastructure a D+ for 2013.

Related Articles


"Pipelines provide the lifeblood to society by transporting energy, water, waste, and other critical services. Our pipeline infrastructure systems was created in an era of inexpensive fossil fuel, stable climate, growing water demand, and rapidly expanding gross domestic product," said Sunil Sinha, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech.

"Unfortunately, the pipeline infrastructure is aging and already operating outside its design limits. How a nation operates, retrofits, and expands its pipeline infrastructure will help determine the quality of life for future generations and that nation's competitiveness in the global economy," he added.

Sinha predicted that if the U.S. is to meet important challenges of the 21st century, a new paradigm for the building and retrofitting of critical pipeline infrastructure system is required, one that addresses the conflicting goals of diverse economic, environment, societal, and policy interests.

Sinha, a 2007 recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER award for research in the area of sustainable water infrastructure management systems, is leading efforts to prioritize work that could change the energy and water pipeline industry to make it sustainable and resilient.

"More than five million miles of pipeline exist in the U.S. alone, and worldwide, countries annually install approximately 500,000 miles of pipeline with a market value of more than $50 billion," Sinha added. "Pipelines crisscross our communities near our homes and schools, yet little attention is paid to this critical infrastructure until catastrophic failures occur."

As examples of high-profile accidents, he pointed to several incidents, including a leak of thousands of barrels of crude oil into a North Dakota field from a pipeline in September 2013, Exxon Mobil's Mayflower pipeline ruptured in a suburban neighborhood in Arkansas, forcing residents from homes in March 2013, and Enbridge, Inc., shut its 345,000 barrels per day Athabasca pipeline after 1,400 barrels of oil spilled in Northeast Alberta in June 2012.

Also, water main breaks in Washington's Maryland suburbs in January of 2011 and in December of 2012 washed out roads and required emergency helicopter rescues. In 2010 a pipeline explosion in San Bruno, Calif., caused the death of eight people. Since 2007, highly publicized leaks of buried pipe containing radioactive materials have occurred at two nuclear facilities. The impacts and damages from failing pipeline infrastructure systems is growing.

Since Sinha's arrival at Virginia Tech in 2007, he has methodically taken a number of steps in researching how to sustain both energy and water pipeline infrastructure.

Through the institute, Sinha has since worked to develop an integrated water and wastewater pipe management system that uses sensor technologies and non-destructive testing tools. This research has the potential to change the utilities' ability to rate the condition and performance of its pipeline infrastructure system and to develop a rational repair, rehabilitation, and replacement program.

In 2010 Sinha led the development of a National Pipeline Infrastructure Database. This database is "like a Wikipedia for the drinking water and wastewater utilities except users do not have editing privileges," Sinha said. Instead, this database will be maintained and updated by the institute. It is providing case studies, synthesis reports, lists of vendors, consultants, and contractors on a regional basis who deal in a particular technology, and comments from end users about individual experiences with a particular technology.

Called WATERiD, and subtitled the WATER Infrastructure Database, "The database ensures a single point, information center for the utilities where they can find all the relevant information that will help in expediting the decision making process for selecting appropriate condition assessment and renewal engineering technologies," Sinha said.

His work to develop this database was supported by the Water Environmental Research Foundation. It awarded him two grants, valued at about a million dollars through the Environmental Protection Agency's Aging Water Infrastructure Research Program.

Database: http://waterid.org/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). "Need for building and retrofitting critical pipelines in the U.S.." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131028114424.htm>.
Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). (2013, October 28). Need for building and retrofitting critical pipelines in the U.S.. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131028114424.htm
Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University). "Need for building and retrofitting critical pipelines in the U.S.." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131028114424.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins