Through technological innovation we are better able to protect the integrity of our system, upholding our core value of safety and environmental protection. Using technology similar to ultrasounds and MRIs found in doctor’s offices and hospitals, our “smart pig” data and analytics to keep our pipelines in top operating condition. We run comparative analysis of the data, and, if necessary, schedule any maintenance.
We’re putting extra eyes in the skies. Our Aerial Patrols are being equipped with new cameras so we’re able to capture optical imagery of our pipeline every week. This kind of monitoring alerts us to any changes in the system that could affect safe operations. Cameras are also particularly helpful in better identifying and reporting unauthorized excavation by parties outside of Colonial to our 811 one-call center.
Colonial is now assessing various applications for drone technology and using drone equipment to the extent allowed by the FAA. We’re testing drones equipped with thermal sensors and other optical capabilities for inspections of tanks and other above-ground inaccessible piping. Drones are particularly helpful now in emergency response situations, where the technology is used to provide Colonial and our response partners with a view of what’s happening in the field.
Colonial also uses satellite technology to capture data along our pipeline system. We’re leveraging satellite capabilities during events, such as hurricanes, to view critical areas where flooding may pose a risk to our assets. Satellite imagery also helps our team establish a full baseline for the system, so we’re able to do comparative studies year-after-year or before and after weather events.
Pipeline companies are required to perform periodic hydrographic inspection surveys for waterways their system crosses. In addition to deploying manned vessels for these inspections, Colonial is now using remote-controlled boats equipped with sonar and other data-gathering capabilities to monitor the pipeline crossings of waterways.