Understanding Corrosion in Water Pipelines: A Guide for Pipeline Designers


Strategy for a Corrosion Remediation Program

By Stephen Foley and Giles Harrison
Published: October 8, 2018
Key Takeaways

Probably the single most important document associated with a refurbishment project is the project specification, which should set out exactly the expectations of the client at each stage of the repair work.

Source: Tatiana Badaeva/Dreamstime.com

This article is a quick overview of the recommended steps in order to establish a robust corrosion remediation program that delivers a quality result and can be implemented to any future integrity (concrete repair, structural steel replacement and protective coating) remediation work of any asset.


Stage 1 – Desktop Preparation

1.1 Develop a Project Hierarchy

This item may already exist, but if not it is a critical step in quality assurance/control to assign accountability. This item is relatively straightforward to prepare and can be prepared quite quickly. (Learn more about quality in the article What Does Quality Control Mean in the Corrosion and Coatings Industry?)


1.2 Review Specifications

A robust specification reduces exposure by the owner and encourages attention to detail. It reduces the risk of poor quality work, unsafe work, and incorrect or faulty work being carried out.

An experienced team should review the specifications that will be required by the contractors carrying out the remediation activities. This team will review existing specifications and add clauses and information in line with leading industry best practice.


Specifications are usually attached to, and form part of, contract documentation, and are often legally binding. The specification is normally the overriding document for all aspects of the remedial work, testing and acceptance.

Probably the single most important document associated with a refurbishment project is the project specification. The document is usually produced by the end user or their nominated representative/consultant and should set out exactly the expectations of the client at each stage of the repair work, including:

  • The precise scope of what is (and isn’t) meant to be repaired
  • Pre-cleaning and rectification of fabrication defects
  • Method(s) and standard(s) of surface preparation
  • The selected repair system(s) for specified surfaces, including a description of the repair materials and QA parameters
  • Testing procedures and acceptance criteria
  • Touch up and remediation

The specification should also address other matters such as safety, environmental and waste issues, product handling, transport to site, storage and other general site requirements.

1.3 Review / Provide Checklists, Forms, SOPs

Paperwork is a function of quality assurance. It records all the pertinent information in regards to the job for future reference and as a checklist as the job progresses to ensure the specification is being met. Poor or incomplete paperwork can compromise traceability and the ability to confirm the required level of quality in a safe manner.

1.4 Prepare Schedule and Assign Fixed Budget

Site based scheduling and budgets should be taken into account but will not be covered in depth here.

1.5 Review Site Instruction Document

The site instruction or work pack document should contain all information required for the contractor to clearly understand what is required. It should reference standards and specifications as well as safety and site requirements. The document should contain the most appropriate technical remedial options to be used on site so that the best return on investment is achieved in a timely and practical manner.

1.6 Develop Inspection and Test Plans (ITP)

Usually the inspection and test plans (ITP) for a particular project will reflect the requirements of the project specification, but will also include additional information such as the contractor’s instrument calibration records, training records of personnel and, as the project progresses, test results. An ITP should be produced by the contractor, often to comply with a specification requirement. However it has been found acceptable practice for the end user to produce the ITP and keep it as a standard document to be provided with site instructions.

Stage 2 – Site Specifics

2.1 Issue identification

Issue capture onsite should be carried out by a suitably experienced person in the field. The aim is to identify issues as well as record information that will allow a concise work pack or site instruction to be developed.

The deliverable for this line item is usually a report that includes:

  • A summary comment on each issue assessed during the audit, encompassing any inconsistencies with regards to statutory, industry and site standards and surrounding site infrastructure.
  • A detailed comment on each issue identified or observed during the audit.
  • Those items of non-conformance with relevant standards/codes, site specifications, etc., broken down into the appointed areas of site and subareas as deemed relevant.
  • Quantification and precise location of the issue should be included in the recommendations for refurbishment work and will also be provided to assist maintenance personnel. (e.g., 2 linear meters of UB150 requires replacing at RL050.15 (level 3) on the south side of the mill right of bolted connection as marked up on drawing G-3020-01).
  • Comment on the suitability of current safety items, devices and equipment employed, including design and procedures, and recommendations for improved corrosion control. This includes recommendations for improved material/system performance in high corrosion risk areas.
  • Recommendations for a corrosion protection strategy of aforementioned items for the remaining service life of the asset.
  • Assign assessment rating and prioritization of each of the items noted in the audit.
  • Comment should also be provided on the performance to date of the assets and include recommendations for extending the service life of the assets.

2.2 Site Corrosion Mapping

Corrosion environment mapping that identifies the different corrosion service environments and in turn dictates what products and methods are applicable. This will allow modification of the repair systems to suit the environments specific to a site, resulting in a tailored approach to ensure value is being provided to the operation.

The process involves water sample analysis and interpretation, site-specific atmospheric corrosion results and observations to produce a corrosion map for the site. This can be then used for a whole range of specification purposes.

Figure 1. Site corrosion mapping.

2.3 Contractor Review

Understanding the capabilities of the contractor is important to assess if they are deemed suitably qualified and competent for the undertaking of the remediation work. Examination of each contractor and their capability statement to determine if they are suitable should be carried out.

2.4 Ensure Coating QA/QC Awareness

This item will ensure that both site personnel and contractors are fully aware of the QA/QC requirements as required not only for this project but also for future repair work. (Related reading: How to Plan Facility Coatings Condition Assessments.) Site personnel in operations may have some awareness of corrosion, however not a detailed understanding of the process and QA/QC requirements. By ‘up-skilling’ site personnel, including supervisors and superintendents, in these fields (e.g., through a short coating awareness presentation), the quality of work executed on site by contractors is to a higher standard and thereby ensures that the operation gains the outcomes expected when directing funding to this issue.

Reality Check

It is important to note, when undertaking the issue identification phase by the corrosion specialist, that a holistic view of the operation must be considered. Some factors that may affect the prioritization of work and assessment ratings are:

  • Life of site / operation / asset
  • Risk rating – likelihood and probability of occurrence
  • Possible failure of element – how this affects operation
  • Inherent redundancy in systems, corrosion allowances, interlocks, failsafes, etc.
  • Other treatment options available
  • Future projects or modifications being undertaken in the area, and the impact this may have on the issue

The above needs to be undertaken in conjunction with site personnel working collaboratively to ensure risks are adequately identified and assessed, and an appropriate level of treatment is applied in proportion to the level of risk an issue presents. This will provide a value assured approach to the mitigation of these risks and ensure funding is being spent in an appropriate and pragmatic manner.

Share This Article

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Related Articles

Go back to top