Sweden Belgium Utility Successful Leak Detection Inspection
Two utilities – TMVW in Belgium and the Department of Sustainable Waste and Water in Gothenburg, Sweden – completed successful inspections to locate leaks and gas pockets using SmartBall® technology in early 2013.
TMVW’s inspection covered almost 15 kilometers (9 miles) of a 900-mm (36-inch) Reinforced Concrete Cylinder Pipe transmission main that runs from Willebroek to Buggenhout, locating 10 acoustic anomalies resembling leaks. Most leaks are located where the pipeline is known to have non-welded joints, and joint movement is suspected as the cause for leaks. The same pipeline was inspected in 2010, locating several leaks that were later repaired by TMVW.
In Gothenburg, Sweden, Department of Sustainable Waste and Water completed a successful leak detection survey on almost 5 kilometers (3 miles) of a pipeline that ranged in size from 600-mm to 800-mm in April 2013. The inspection identified 17 anomalies resembling leaks, with four classified as large leaks. While the utility staff suspected that the pipeline had a few leaks, they were surprised at the amount detected by the inspection. Work is currently underway to verify and repair the leaks found by SmartBall.
The SmartBall inspection tool is a non-destructive, free-swimming technology that measures the acoustic activity associated with leaks and gas pockets in pressurized pipelines. When acoustic anomalies are present, the data is analyzed to determine if it is a leak, gas pocket, or just an external sound. The tool is tracked using SmartBall receivers that are mounted along the pipeline at strategic locations.
Regular leak detection inspections can identify leaks that may not be visible at the surface and have presumably been leaking for a long time. By repairing leaks, utilities can reduce their non-revenue water and prevent pipeline failures, as leaks are often an indication of pipeline deterioration.
Locating and eliminating gas pockets is also beneficial because it reduces pressure on pumps that are attempting to pump water past a pocket. As they grow in size, gas pockets can significantly reduce the flow and capacity in a pipeline.
Highly accurate inline leak detection systems that can detect leaks and gas pockets in operational pipelines. These systems are used primarily on larger diameter water and wastewater transmission mains of all materials as well as oil & gas pipelines.