Inspection of underwater pipelines and pressure sewers

Kuopio Water is a water supplier in Kuopio district. Its area of operation includes the city area of Kuopio and the population centers of Melalahti, Kurkimäki, Vehmersalmi, Karttula, Nilsiä, Maaninka and Juankoski. In the operation area Kuopio Water has over 1 590 kilometres of water supply network and sewage pipes. During the summer 2018 VRT Finland surveyed their underwater pipelines for over 21 kilometres in Nilsiä, Maaninka and Juankoski.

The inspections were carried out from VRT’s survey boat and used multibeam sonar technology for underwater structures. The inspections aimed to gather information about the exact locations and condition of the pipelines, as well as information about the waterbed and objects that could affect the pipelines.

Miika Riihimäki, the water supply engineer at Kuopio Water, thanks VRT Finland for the surveys and quality data, and mentions especially how they were informed about potential leaks before the official delivery date, which allowed them to check up them as soon as possible.


Sonar scans to supplement diving

Previously the underwater pipelines in these municipal mergers have almost exclusively been inspected by diving only. Inspections were usually carried out when there were suspicions about ongoing failures or damage had already happened.

This time the survey gave Kuopio Water information about the big picture, based on which it is easy to plan follow-up actions. Although this time the worrisome observations were confirmed by the check-up dives not to be leaks, Riihimäki doesn’t think the sonar surveys got waste.

Overall scans like this one the reduce the need for unnecessary diving inspections and help finding the places where reparation is needed before severe damage occurs.


Geographic information easily with GISGRO

Thanks to the survey, Kuopio Water updated the exact data of the pipelines locations to their GIS (geographic information system) – important to know, since the pipes might move during or after installation. Also, the information about objects either directly on or very close to the pipelines is valuable, as such information is difficult to gather by diving, because the waters in Finland tend to have poor visibility.

The findings were reported and shared to Kuopio Water via cloud-based GISGRO online service. Thus, the 3D data is more easily accessed, perceived and utilized by the client and end-user. Using GISGRO and viewing the observations does not require any special skills of handling 3D data and point clouds.

Riihimäki tells that Kuopio Water has used GISGRO several times. In addition to reading the written reports, they visited GISGRO to see the observations, which were easy to find. At the same time, they could get the coordinates of the observations, should the divers need them to find the spot faster and safer. Due to the sheer number of pipelines, Kuopio Water values easy and fast access to the data about all the underwater structures.


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“Earlier the condition of underwater pipelines was inspected with the help of divers. The check-ups were done usually only due to current malfunction or when suspecting a leak in a specific pipeline, when only that specific area was inspected. Now we got an up-to-date and comprehensive picture of three municipalities’ pipelines with one go.”

Miika Riihimäki, Water Supply Engineer, Kuopion vesi

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