Procedure for Handling Pipe Failures Prior to Investigation

Getting the materials to the investigator in a preserved, undamaged condition is an important first step in a successful failure investigation. For failures involving small components or short lengths of pipe (e.g. ≤40 feet) consider sending all the components involved. For larger failures, the pipeline operator may need to identify the origin and cut the affected pipe into smaller pieces for transport. Assistance in locating the origin of large failures can be provided by Kiefner personnel. It is often useful to submit intact pipe adjacent to the failure for additional testing.

The following steps should be followed when selecting material to submit for analysis.

  1. A photograph should be taken or a sketch made of the specimen in place before disturbing it. Photographs should also be taken after the pipe is removed from the ditch. It is a good idea to mark each photograph with test section and failure number, as well as the date and time the photograph was taken.
  2. Steel surfaces can flash rust quickly when exposed to the atmosphere and moisture (within 15 minutes). As soon as is practical after excavation or exposure of the failure segment, the fracture surfaces should be coated with a light, water-dispersing oil, such as WD-40, motor oil or Vaseline.
  3. It is essential to avoid damaging the fracture surfaces. Do not to clean the fracture surfaces, other than to remove mud with water. The surfaces should not be rubbed, brushed, sandblasted, or otherwise contacted. Avoid damaging the fracture surfaces during handling.
  4. Extreme care should be exercised during excavation to prevent digging tool contact with the pipe in the vicinity of the failure surface. In handling the pipe, no hooks, chains, slings or similar metal devices are to contact the pipe at a failure location. Sometimes, the origins of pipe ruptures are on a flap that protrudes from the pipe body, making it prone to being damaged during handling. Damage to the origin can obscure or destroy important information that may be critical to the investigation.
  5. Small leaks or flaws should be indicated by paint marker with care being taken not to get paint or ink on the failure. Mark all materials to indicate their position/orientation in the pipeline prior to failure. On all failures requiring cut out, mark the top of the pipe (12 o’clock position), direction of flow (arrow pointing downstream) and a “North” arrow with a paint marker or other indelible marker.
  6. Hydrostatic test failures should be identified sequentially by test section, failure number, milepost and/or station number. The name of the person and company gathering the pipe specimen, the station number, test section and failure numbers should be written on the pipe.
  7. After the failed segment of pipe has been removed from the line and treated as described above, the segment should be wrapped and taped in a water resistant film such as polyethylene to prevent contamination during transport and storage. The plastic film should be positioned on the failure segment to permit access to the failure surfaces for examination or reapplication of the oil coating.
  8. Prepare the materials for shipment by a method that will immobilize the samples and prevent damage due to rolling into other objects. If the materials need to be cut to accommodate shipment, avoid cutting within 6 inches of the failure origin or any other fracture surface, if possible. When handling the materials, avoid using metal tie-down straps, chains, or hooks near the origin. Most items can be strapped onto a wood pallet with banding straps. If bands must be located near the origin, first cover the origin with several layers of cardboard and secure them to assure they will not move during transit. Smaller pieces may fall off a pallet and become lost, so use a box or crate to ship them.
  9. The attached form should be filled out with and provided to the investigator by the pipeline operator for each leak or rupture type failure being analyzed.
  10. The pressure to be reported is the calculated failure pressure at the location of the failure considering elevation. Under “description of failure,” it should be reported whether the failure was a leak or a rupture and whether it was in the longitudinal weld, girth weld or pipe body. A short written description of the event is very helpful in adding completeness to the final investigation report. Not all data fields are always applicable. Complete it to the extent information is available.

Ship materials to:

4480 Bridgeway Ave
Columbus, OH 43219
Ph (614) 888-8275

Deliveries are received weekdays, M-F, between 7:30 am and 4:30 pm EST.

Tractor trailer deliveries should be arranged in advance to allow for delivery before or after normal business hours.


Applus+ is a specialist service provider of non-destructive examination and inspection services which are critical to ensuring the safety and integrity of the energy and industrial sector. Accordingly, please be informed that Applus+ and its affiliate companies, including but not limited to Applus RTD USA, Inc., Applus Velosi America, LLC, Applus K2 America, LLC, and Kiefner and Associates, Inc. are open for business.

Applus+ is deemed as an Essential and Critical Infrastructure service provider. The services provided by Applus+ ensure our client’s continuous safe operations, delivery of essential services to our end clients in these times of need, and supports compliance with local, state, and federal regulations—include our united mandate to continue providing Essential and Critical Infrastructure services.

Operating for over 85 years, Applus+ has responded to emergency situations in high consequence areas and at times when other suppliers have been unable to perform. We believe that we have not only demonstrated value but sincere commitment to quality and service. Applus+ will continue to show its unwavering support at the request of our clients to assist in maintaining operational continuity.

We would like to let you know what measures Applus+ is taking to ensure the health and safety of our employees, clients and suppliers.  We have activated our Business Continuity Plan and the purpose of this Plan is to ensure uninterrupted service. As the situation develops, our management and protocols will be adjusted, as required.

Applus+ has taken the following measures:

  • Active implementation of Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols.
  • Provided information to employees about the Coronavirus, its symptoms, and how to minimize its spread. Employees have been advised to avoid crowded areas and to limit social interaction, and have been trained on the correct hygiene, health and safety procedures.
  • Internal protocols have been implemented to follow all CDC guidelines for all who:
    • Have travelled internationally within the last 14 days
    • Have been in close contact with someone who has been confirmed infected with or is being tested for COVID-19
    • Have been in close contact with someone who is under self-quarantine.
    • Have any symptoms such as fever, coughing, and shortness of breath.
  • Effective 03/17/2020 short-term remote work guidelines for employees have been implemented.
  • Applus+ has increased the frequency of cleaning services in our facilities to ensure a clean and safe working environment.
  • Travel has been limited to essential client-required travel only, with severe restrictions in the case of high-risk destinations.

We will continue to monitor the situation in order to adapt in a timely and effective manner as the situation evolves. Our goal is to ensure that we fulfil our commitment to our clients and deliver the highest standards of service excellence, while at the same time keeping our workforce safe and healthy.

As always, you should feel free to contact us with any questions. Please email the team at for further assistance regarding the COVID-19 matter. To schedule services, continue to communicate with your Applus+ representative.

Thank you for your support and partnership,

Applus+ Management Team