Normally, assessing wall thickness in a pressurized water or sewer line and main requires shutting down the line and cutting into it. But broadband electromagnetic scanning is finding increasing use as a viable, non-destructive testing alternative that does not interrupt utility service.

This fall, BEM scanning contributed to a condition study of a 1970s-era force sewer main for the Metropolitan Sanitation District of Greater Cincinnati. Malcolm Pirnie, the water division of ARCADIS, Highlands Ranch, Colo., is the assessment contractor.

The consultant hired InfraMetrix LLC, Tampa, Fla., to use BEM to scan select locations in the line where analysis and other tests predicted the greatest potential thickness loss from internal erosion or corrosion.

InfraMetrix is the sole U.S. licensee, since 2002, of BEM technology that was adapted and scaled down from the mining industry by Rock Solid Pty. Ltd., Victoria, Australia.

William DiTullio, InfraMetrix president and CEO, says the technology can inspect any ferrous pipe. Testing does not require contact with the metal and can be used from the inside or, in this case, from the outside of a pressurized line, he says.

"I wanted technology that could assess condition of pipe without taking it out of service," explains DiTullio.

BEM can be used on coated, wrapped or lined pipe.