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PICA: Pipeline Inspection and Condition Analysis Corp.

PICA is BBB registered and ISNetworld (safety) certified.

Product, Service

Canada

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Overview

PICA has been performing condition assessments of pipelines in the USA and Canada since the early 1990's. Our home office is located in Alberta, Canada near where our sister company (Russell NDE Systems Inc.) designs and manufactures the In-Line Inspection Tools that PICA uses.

Our specialty is a unique electromagnetic technology, contained in flexible, pressure sealed, in-line inspection Tools, that allow ferritic pipelines (ductile iron, cast-iron and steel) to be inspected for corrosion pits, graphitic corrosion, eroded areas and cracks. Customers who take a proactive approach to assess the condition of their pipelines using our Tools report savings in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and in one case over $10,000,000!

Our strength is in our people. Our sister company employs the team that engineered the original Tools and have since gone on to develop even better electronics, hardware and software used in our modern See Snake and HydraSnake Tools to inspect water, waste water and other water pipelines. PICA, the operating arm of the group, has a seasoned team of engineers who manage our field services and a gifted data analysis team who report the results of the inspection work to our clients.

Our clients are world-wide water and waste water pipeline owners and operators. Typically they are progressive companies who wish to pro-actively manage their buried assets and extend their pipelines' useful life past the original expected life of 50 to 100 years. They also enjoy the benefit of being able to place a value on their buried assets by quantitatively knowing their condition, and being able to make informed decisions on spot repairs, rehabilitation or replacement.

PICA offers in-Line Inspection Services for pipelines in the following industries:

  • Potable Water
  • Waste Water
  • Raw Water
  • Fire Water (used in all industrial plants to fight fires)
  • Slurry lines and "Slick Lines" used in mines to transport cement slurry underground
  • Steel water well casings
  • Salt water disposal lines
  • Other water pipelines, such as cooling water for thermal and nuclear power stations

Our sister company uses similar Tools to inspect Oil and Gas pipelines: www.russelltech.com 

For non-ferrous pipelines we offer novel ultrasonic Tools .

For 3D mapping of pipelines we offer a "Geo-Tool" which maps all bends, joints, valves and other pipeline features.

All Tools are detectable from above ground, and their progress through the pipeline can be monitored in real-time.

For those on a budget, or with small piping systems, we offer the following alternate technologies:

  • an external condition monitoring technique that can detect external and internal wall loss caused by corrosion, erosion, graphitic corrosion and cracking. This service uses a unique technology known as "Through Transmission" and is embodied in our Bracelet Probes. This is suitable for pipe exposed in an excavation, or above ground piping in a pumping station. The piping may be insulated or bare.
  • CCTV for pipelines larger than 12".  Our CCTV crawler has a limit of 2km (longest in the industry) and the usual pan, tilt, zoom and voice-over capabilities. (New for 2016). This is suitable for gravity and storm sewers, waste water pipes and potable water pipes where access is available through chambers and manholes.
  • Free swimming, self contained leak detection device (New for 2016). This device can be launched through an ARV or other small access port and travels with the flow. It is neutrally buoyant and therefore cannot get trapped by objects in the pipe that are resting on the bottom.  It is trackable from above ground and "knows where it is" by detecting sounding devices placed on the pipe at intervals that are GPS located.

For more information write info@picacorp.com or call +1-800-661-0127

PICA is BBB registered and ISNetworld (safety) certified

Contact us at the nearest local office (see Contact page)

Products & Services
Water Main Inspection

Do you have high risk water main pipelines?

Do you know the condition of your water main pipelines? Do you want to extend the life cycle of your existing pipelines? Do you want to save money by not having to needlessly replace pipelines that are in good condition?

PICA can help identify the condition of your pipelines using it's patented, state of the art, Remote Field Technology (RFT) See Snake Tools. Join the growing list of owners and operators of water pipelines around the world who have used our service. To date PICA has inspected over 660,000' (200 kms) of water mains.

Identify the problem to help save you money.

In a 2007 report released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an estimated 240,000 water main breaks occur every year in the United States. The number of breaks increase substantially near the end of the system's service life. Large utility breaks in the Midwest increased from 250 per year to 2,200 per year during a 19-year period.

The US Geological Survey estimates that water lost from water distribution systems is 1.7 trillion gallons per year at a national cost of $2.6 billion per year.


Click on graphics to enlarge (gallons (l.h.s) and litres (r.h.s.))

This simple estimation model is based on a formula presented in the following publication: The Texas Water Development Board: "A Guidebook for Reducing Unaccounted-for Water".

The See Snake Tool solution.


There is a demand in the market for improved probability of detection (P.O.D.) and exceptional accuracy for sizing of corrosion pits. Competing tools that use Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL) require intimate contact with the pipe wall in order to achieve acceptable flaw sizing. Unfortunately many pipelines have internal deposits of scale and others are lined with cement mortar, epoxy or polyethylene, preventing the effective use of MFL tools. See Snake RFT technology, on the other hand, requires no contact with the pipe wall, and can measure through scale and non-magnetic liners. In fact, See Snake tools have a clearance of up to 2" (50mm) to allow passage of the Tools past tubercles, dents and internal deposits.

The See Snake Tool advantage.

  • Non-contact NDT method.
  • Equally sensitive to internal and external flaws.
  • Complete coverage at fast inspection speeds.
  • Accurate results that identify both the severity and location of areas of wall thinning.
  • Novel mechanical design can accommodate ID variations as well as traverse sharp bends, elbows, Tees and fittings.
  • Tethered or free-swimming, fully autonomous Tools for pipeline lengths to 30 km (20 miles), in pressurized, in-service, pipelines.


Semi-automatic Analysis Software

See Snake data analysis is semi-automatic and a report is created as the analysis is being performed. Depending on the line condition, analysis and reporting can be done in the field, but is usually done starting the next day, off-site, to reduce labour costs.

The multi-channel See Snake Tools inspect 360° of the pipe circumference for the full length of the pipeline. The data is displayed as color maps, strip-chart logs and voltage planes. The screen capture below shows two pits at the bottom (6 o'clock position) of the pipe, 40% and 60% deep.


Tools are available for pipe sizes between 2" (50mm) to 36" (914mm)

Larger pipes can be inspected, but require the pipe to be empty.

 Click here to request additional Information

Waste Water Pipeline Inspection

Do you have high risk Waste Water, or Force Main pipelines?

In a report released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), since 2003 hundreds of municipal sewer authorities have been fined for violations, including spills that make people sick, threaten local drinking water and kill aquatic animals and plants. Fines totaling $35 million were assessed.

The report indicates, 3 billion to 10 billion gallons of raw sewage spill accidentally every year, from the 1.2 million miles of waste water pipelines snaking underground across North America. Causes of these spills include corrosion pits/cracks in aging pipes.

Some examples are:

  • A 42" pipe ruptured, spilling about 20 million gallons of sewage into the Pennsylvania's Schuylkill River.
  • A damaged pipe spilled 700,000 to 1.3 million gallons of human feces and other waste into the Grand Lagoon at Panama Beach, Fla.

Don't let this happen to you! PICA can help identify the condition of your waste water pipelines using it's suite of patented state of the art Remote Field Technology (RFT) See Snake Tools. Join the growing list of water and waste water companies around the world who have used our Direct Condition Analysis (DCA) service to assess the condition of their pipelines. To date PICA has inspected over 660,000' (200 kms) of water mains using the RFT technique.

The See Snake Tool solution.

There is a demand in the market for improved probability of detection (P.O.D.) and exceptional accuracy for sizing of corrosion pits. Competing Tools that use Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL) require intimate contact with the pipe wall in order to achieve acceptable flaw sizing. Unfortunately many pipelines have internal deposits of FOG (Fats Oil and Grease), scale or sand, and others are lined with cement mortar, epoxy or polyethylene, preventing the effective use of MFL Tools. See Snake technology, on the other hand, requires no contact with the pipe wall, and can measure through internal deposits, debris and non-magnetic liners. In fact, See Snake Tools have a clearance of up to 2" (50mm) to allow passage of the Tools without extensive pipe cleaning.

The See Snake Tool advantage.

  •  Non-contact NDT method.
  • Equally sensitive to internal and external flaws.
  • Complete coverage at fast inspection speeds.
  • Accurate results that identify both the severity and location of areas of wall thinning.
  • Novel mechanical design can accommodate ID variations as well as traverse sharp bends and elbows.
  • Tethered or Free-Swimming, the Tools are completely autonomous robots that have memory, odometers and batteries on board.

Semi-automatic Analysis Software

See Snake data analysis is semi-automatic and a report is created as the analysis is being performed. Depending on the line condition, analysis and reporting can be done in the field, but is usually started the next day, off-site, to reduce labour costs.

The multi-channel See Snake Tools inspect 360° of the pipe for the full length of the pipeline. The data is displayed as color maps, strip-chart logs and voltage planes. The screen capture below shows two pits at 6 o'clock (bottom of the pipe) that are 40% and 60% deep. These indications can be seen on the charts as horizontal jogs in the signal, and as dark patches in the colour map.

Click here to request additional Information

Raw Water, Fire Water, Cooling Water & Slurry Pipelines

Are the pipelines in your plant at risk of failure?

Nuclear and Thermal Power Stations:

Scientists have always known that the greatest risk in operating a nuclear reactor is the loss-of-coolant accident. If for some reason the flow of water is stopped or slowed, (for example if a cooling water pipe breaks), the fissioning fuel rods could become so hot that they will melt.

The heat produced in the fuel rods is more than enough to raise the temperature of cooling water to its boiling point. All of the nuclear accidents that have occurred in the world have been at least partially caused by loss of coolant.

Some examples are:

  • The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture initiated by a large sunami foloowing the Tohoku earthquake.  Cooling water stopped flowing to the reactor core after flooding disabled the emergency generators.  For more info on this disaster click here.
  • The 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear accident near Pripyat, USSR. This was an operator error during a disaster planning exercise, but coolant was lost to the reactor core resulting in a core melt-down.  For more information click here.

Processing Plants, Refineries and Gas Plants:

All processing plants have fire suppression piping systems, as do large campuses, high-rise buildings, airports, military bases etc. All require fire-water pipeline systems.

Many of these systems are aging and are improperly maintained. Lake and river water often sits dormant and stagnating in the pipes causing under-scale corrosion and MIC (Micro-biologically Influenced Corrosion). This can lead to leaks and cracks in the pipes and loss of pressure at the very time that the system is needed to fight a fire.

Don't let this happen to you!

PICA can help identify the condition of your cooling water and fire-water pipelines using it's patented, state of the art Remote Field Technology (RFT) See Snake Tools. Join the growing list of pipeline owners around the world who have used our service. To date PICA has inspected over 660,000' (200 kms) of water mains using the RFT technique.

Use of RFT to evaluate fire suppression piping

The See Snake Tool solution.


There is a demand in the market for improved probability of detection (P.O.D.) and exceptional accuracy for sizing of corrosion pits. Competing tools that use Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL) require intimate contact with the pipe wall in order to achieve acceptable flaw sizing. Unfortunately many pipelines have internal deposits and others are lined with cement mortar, epoxy or polyethylene, preventing the effective use of MFL tools. See Snake technology, on the other hand, requires no contact with the pipe wall, and can measure through scale, wax, sand, tubercles and non-magnetic liners. In fact, See Snake tools have a clearance of up to 2" (50mm) to allow passage of the tool past internal liners and deposits.

The See Snake Tool advantage.

  • Non-contact NDT method.
  • Equally sensitive to internal and external flaws.
  • Complete coverage at fast inspection speeds.
  • Accurate results that identify both the severity and location of areas of wall thinning.
  • Novel mechanical design can accommodate ID variations as well as traverse sharp bends.
  • Tethered or Free-Swimming, the Tools are pressure-proof and completely autonomous robots.


Semi-Automatic Analysis Software

See Snake data analysis is semi-automatic and a report is created as the analysis is being performed. Depending on the line condition, analysis and reporting can be done in the field, but is usually done the next day, off-site, to reduce labour costs.

The multi-channel See Snake Tools inspects 360° of the pipe. The data is displayed as color maps, strip-chart logs and voltage planes. Reports contain details of every wall-loss defect in the length inspected, including its clock location on the pipe and its axial location referenced to the nearest bell and spigot joint or weld. Materials that can be inspected with this technology include cast-iron, ductile-iron and steel.

Internal nodules and debris can be up to 1" (25.4mm) thick without impeding the Tool's progress through the pipe

Internal liners of cement mortar, bitumen, HDPE or FRP are no problem for the See Snake...it can "see" through liners up to 1" (25.4mm) thick.

Click here to request additional Information.

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