Excavation damage is one of the top causes of incidents in both the transmission and distribution sectors. Damage caused from insufficient notification of one-call centers or careless digging near a gas system can potentially result in significant loss of life and/or property damage.
To reduce the risk of third-party damage to gas pipelines, a project on an excavation encroachment notification (EEN) system will soon be completed in California with support from the California Energy Commission and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). The EEN system leverages cutting-edge technology and cloud-computing platforms to process, manage and store immense amounts of data.
One hundred and fifty devices with cellular connectivity, global positioning systems (GPS) and motion sensors were deployed on construction equipment to test the computing platform. Through this project, researchers were able to assess excavation activity and combine GIS data to provide an accurate algorithm to significantly reduce the occurrence of false-positive results in the characterization of field activity.
Using machine learning algorithms, the construction equipment is tracked and its activity characterized in real-time. The result is an alarm and indication to the equipment operator warning of a gas main in the vicinity. In addition, the utility stakeholder also has access to the real-time activity of excavation and construction equipment within the utility’s service territory. Historical data is also archived for analysis and trend identification.
The Gas Technology Institute (GTI)-developed system improves transparency on excavations in the field, making operators and utilities aware of sub-surface activity in their service territory. This framework greatly reduces the risk associated with damage that might occur from excavation activities and improves safety.
Learn more about issues and opportunities affecting the transmission and distribution sector by attending the 27th World Gas Conference 2018 next June. Visit www.wgc2018.com/program to filter the interactive online program by ‘Storage, Transmission & Distribution’ to view all relevant sessions