Artificial intelligence can boost the efficiency of pipeline inspections

(Originally published in the March 2023 issue of Water Environment & Technology magazine. All rights reserved.)

By Joshua Ford

Road collapses, flooding, and sewer backups resulting from pipeline breaks, holes, and fractures are all-too-common occurrences. Inspection is critical to repairing defects before they become bigger, more expensive problems.

However, pipeline inspection, maintenance, and repairs can place a considerable burden on a city’s annual budget, especially when available resources are either lacking or applied inefficiently. Pipeline assessment is time-intensive, both in the field and back at the office during quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) review. Despite an established system for classifying observations and defects within pipe segments, inconsistencies remain a challenge.


Updates to inspection equipment and pipeline defect standards certainly have helped, but the process used to pinpoint problem areas precisely has remained relatively unchanged since the introduction of closed-circuit television (CCTV) in the 1950s. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a game-changer that will vastly improve accuracy in pipeline inspection, significantly reduce costs, and help crews work smarter.

Download the PDF of
A(I) Is for Accuracy


About WEFTEC Now

The official news source of WEFTEC. 

WEFTEC Now features timely coverage of major events leading up to, during, and after the conference. This resource will become an enduring record of past WEFTEC conferences as well as provide notice of upcoming events and opportunities.

Return to list

WEFTEC Now logo

Subscribe to emails