Pipeline Maintenance and Commissioning

A 150 mm potable water pipeline had sprung a leak and required a section to be taken out and replaced with a new section using victaulic clamps to join both ends to the existing pipe.

The repair task commenced but was not was not completed on the day.

Work resumed next morning and finished without incident.

The pipeline provided potable water to the on-site laboratory (iron ore mine in the Pilbara) and the repaired section of pipe was located several hundred metres from the laboratory.

About 7 months later – several small bones and fur were noticed being discharged out of a tap located in the laboratory.

The investigation indicated the line section under repair had been left open overnight and a small animal had crawled into the pipeline overnight – most likely a feral cat.

There were no reported sickness events that could be related to the quality of the water during those months after the animal had entered the water line.

Lesson Learnt

  • Commissioning – Flush pipelines before being put back into service and monitor for expected flow rates
  • Maintenance – Close up and secure the pipeline to prevent foreign bodies entering when work is not ongoing