System Safety and Integrity

Colonial Pipeline invests substantial resources in maintaining and monitoring the pipeline system. From precise design and construction standards to sophisticated computer monitoring and other leading-edge technologies, maintaining the safety of Colonial’s pipelines is an area of constant focus for the company.

Aerial Patrols

The Colonial mainline pipeline system is inspected by piloted aircraft on a weekly basis. This exceeds federal requirements that pipeline easements be inspected 26 times per year. Because thousands of miles of pipes are in areas that are difficult to access at ground level, aerial inspections are an effective way to monitor pipes and rights-of-way.

Internal Inspections

Using advanced technologies, Colonial Pipeline examines its 5,500 mile pipeline network. These devices, or ​“Smart Pigs,” are highly-advanced inline inspection tools that travel through Colonial’s system. One technology used is similar to what doctors use for ultrasounds. The different technologies deliver data about the health of the pipeline that Colonial engineers analyze to determine if additional actions or maintenance is required to keep our lines in top operating condition. 

Corrosion Prevention

Colonial employs a strategic approach to corrosion prevention based on environmental conditions, land use, and available technologies. For example, Cathodic Protection is a technology that works in conjunction with pipeline coating systems and is designed to protect the pipeline from corrosion.

Cathodic protection system effectiveness is monitored through above ground survey techniques and identifies locations where active corrosion may be occurring. During a survey, the level of cathodic protection is continuously measured as a survey crew walks over the pipeline. Cathodic protection levels outside of the expected operating range are identified by engineers and appropriate remediation efforts are implemented.