Critical Review of PCCP at Reclamation

Project ID: 7108
Principal Investigator: Jessica Torrey
Research Topic: Repair and Maintenance
Funded Fiscal Years: 2017, 2018 and 2019
Keywords: None

Research Question

Reclamation's inventory of prestressed concrete cylinder pipe (PCCP) has been in service for 25-60 years, with over 40 installations across all Regions totaling approximately 140 miles of pipe. After two recent failures, the need exists to survey the state of the art in PCCP condition assessment, maintenance, and repair:
- Condition assessment: What are state-of-the-art tools/techniques and how can we use the resulting data to assess the condition of our PCCP? What results will signal when a pipe section needs to be repaired or replaced?
- Repair of Distressed Pipe: What are current best practices for PCCP pipe repair? Can we categorize Reclamation's PCCP inventory and recommend certain repair options for each category?
- Replacement of Distressed or Failed Pipe: What are the best options for both preemptive and emergency replacement of PCCP? Are there steps pipeline managers can take to prepare for these eventualities?

Need and Benefit

Reclamation currently has approximately 44 installations of PCCP totaling 140 miles, affecting all Regions. In light of recent failures, it would benefit Reclamation to take proactive measures to assess the condition of its inventory of PCCP and plan scenarios for anticipated repairs and replacements. If successful, this effort could greatly reduce occurrences of unexpected failures and save Reclamation millions of dollars. Additionally, some of these PCCP installations are in locations that have seen encroaching residential and commercial development. Being able to pre-emptively repair or replace distressed sections would minimize risk to these communities, both from a safety and property loss perspective.
Reclamation should also be prepared for emergency failures and replacements. Having a plan in place should emergency repair or replacement be required would decrease the amount of time that a pipeline is out of service and minimize impact to water users. It is also likely that steps could be taken to have a spare pipe section on site, as was the case for the Santa Clara Conduit, which would save both time and money in emergency replacement situations.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Critical Review of PCCP at Reclamation (final, PDF, 18.1MB)
By Jessica Torrey
Research Product completed on September 30, 2019

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

PCCP: Condition Assessment, Repair, and Replacement Strategies (final, PDF, 1.4MB)
By Jessica Torrey
R&D Bulletin completed on September 30, 2019

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20