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Benefits Of Inline Leak Detection Large Diameter Pipe

There are several methods of locating leaks on water pipelines.

Non-invasive methods, such correlators or listening sticks, work very well on small-diameter distribution mains but often lack the accuracy needed to address large pipes as the sound of a leak does not travel as well as pipe diameter increases.

Infographic about inline leak detection

Conversely, inline leak detection methods aren’t well suited for distribution mains due to pipe size and complexity, but are very effective in accurately locating leaks on large-diameter transmission mains because they bring the leak detection sensor directly to the source of the leak, unlike non-invasive systems.

One of the major challenges utility operators deal with is accurate location of leaks on critical large-diameter pipelines. These pipelines – which are often a crucial supply of water for a large number of customers – sometimes run beneath busy streets, meaning operators cannot afford to shut down service and excavate large portions of a city street to search for suspected leaks, making precise location very crucial.

Inline leak detection tools can locate leaks with close location accuracy, usually within 10-feet or closer, because the leak detection sensor passes the leak location directly, therefore providing a very accurate location estimate. Tethered systems that are controlled by a ground level operator are the most accurate in locating leaks, since the technology operator can control the leak sensor and verify leaks in real time.

By using inline leak detection methods that precisely locate leaks, operators can effectively reduce shutdown and excavation times, allowing for fiscally responsible and efficient repair projects that don’t disrupt busy metropolitan areas.

Another benefit of inline leak detection methods is their accuracy in estimating the size of a leak. The results from an inline leak detection survey provide a precise water loss estimate for each suspected leak. This allows pipeline operators to decide whether to excavate a leak immediately or defer the repair of a small leak in the interim.

This helps operators with large-diameter pipelines in busy metropolitan areas because repair projects can be costly, disruptive, and sometimes unnecessary if the cost of the project outweighs the benefit of repairing the leak. With the location and size of the leak known, operators can create repair schedules and prioritize rehabilitation projects to avoid unnecessary service disruptions.