Tampa, Florida — In the natural gas pipeline industry, accurate identification—along with periodic verification—of High Consequence Areas (HCAs) is absolutely vital. With stringent and costly government regulations on the rise, the need has never been greater for a quick, cost-effective means to analyze the demographics and physical environment inside the potential impact radius (PIR) surrounding thousands of miles of pipeline throughout the US.
Since the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) recently released updated guidelines regarding proper HCA identification, pipeline owners and operators have had to re-evaluate the time consuming and expensive processes in place to accurately classify pipelines nationwide. Failure to do so will likely translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
A Timely, High-Tech Solution
Diverse Flight Solutions (DFS), in partnership with Detailed Aerial Solutions (Shepherd, MI), now has an answer for Florida pipeline operators and inspectors in the form of high-tech unmanned eyes in the sky.
Combining drone technology and a powerful cloud-based software platform, DFS can quickly and accurately identify key classification metrics, impending violations, and even potential gas leaks, via a simple flyover of any given stretch of pipeline. By integrating precise mapping software, current census data as well as high-definition video and still photographs, this proprietary technology will provide pipeline operators with an extraordinary amount of data to classify pipeline faster, and more accurately, than ever before.
More Accurate Information in a Fraction of the Time
The information gathered using this drone technology will be a gamechanger in the industry. This data includes metrics such as the number of people that live and work in any given radius surrounding a pipeline, an algorithm that identifies a building as a residence, school, assisted living facility, etc. (as well as how many people are actually on premise within a specific time period), and even contact information for home and business owners along the route, if desired.
Data collection that used to take upwards of 3 to 5 weeks of labor can now be acquired and documented in 24 – 36 hours. Fully equipped drones operated by certified pilots eliminate the need for traditional walking crews, by flying over—and analyzing—the same stretches of pipe at a drastically quicker pace.
Signage Requirements: Fines Ahead
Imprecise signage along pipeline routes—one area highlighted by new regulations—looks to be a major source of fines in the near future. Without drone technology, pipeline owners are forced to send crews out to physically walk the line in order to verify compliance.
With a drone flyover however, high-definition video and still images clearly illustrate the markings around any given area.
What’s more, precise documentation will be a key factor in eluding severe penalties moving forward. Diverse Flight Solutions’ technology records everything in the cloud; this means that any and all documentation can be accesses anywhere, any time it’s needed.
In addition to acquiring key classification data, DFS can also use drone technology to detect leaks along a pipeline. Through the use of specialized cameras and lenses—including infrared—DFS can ascertain plant and vegetation health surrounding stretches of pipeline, which is a key indicator of a leak.
A New Day in Pipeline Inspection
With over 10 years overseeing day-to-day operations in the industry, Michael Klumpp of DAS understands the challenges facing pipeline operators today.
“New standards mean that these pipelines must be brought to code, or companies face millions of dollars in fines,” says Klumpp. “The current processes involve overlaying giant maps created by using data from crews walking thousands of miles of pipe. It’s time intensive and subjective. They can’t keep up.”
DAS and DFS have combined to offer advanced solutions in the state of Florida that quickly and cost-effectively collect the necessary data to correctly classify pipeline (and identify HCAs), discover PHMSA compliance violations before fines are levied, and even detect leaks, all while putting executive-level data directly into the hands of those that need it most.
Diverse Flight Solutions’ Detailed Pipeline Solutions Software and platform is a gas and oil pipeline industries solution to PHMSA compliance and standards concerns. Necessary data that once took 3-5 weeks of manual labor to collect can now be obtained in 24-36 hours, by using drone imaging combined with an interactive map viewer and overlapping data. For more information contact Diverse Flight Solutions at 727-410-0134 or by email at sales@DiverseFlightSolutions.com.