Leak Detection In Underground Water Systems

April 29, 2019

Burying water mains and sewer pipes makes sense for a number of reasons. Municipalities and utilities understandably want to keep these vital systems safe and out of the way. Of course, when a pipeline is buried, it’s much harder to detect when something goes wrong with it. A water main leak can be impossible to see with the naked eye because there may be several feet of earth and pavement covering it. This means a water supply line leak can go undetected for too long, but do you know how to find a water leak underground? Fortunately, there are several techniques available.

Detecting a Leak

Knowing how to find a leak in a water supply line is crucial for any utility charged with ensuring continuous service for its customers. Identifying some of the most obvious signs can be essential for understanding how to detect an underground water leak. These may include:

  • Bubbling sounds
  • Sewage smells
  • Water in the street
  • Unexplained muddy areas

However, these may not be obvious enough to indicate a problem. They also may not tell the observer exactly where the break occurred, leaving them unable to discern how to locate an underground water leak. That’s where technology comes into play. There are numerous tools on the market for finding leaks hidden under the street. These can include:

  • Locators — Workers in the field can use these to detect the sounds of leaking water along a line. They use microphones and digital audio processors to filter out ambient noise.
  • Loggers — These devices can detect the sounds of drips and keep detailed records. With these in place, technicians can be alerted to breaks even when they’re not physically at the site.
  • Mapping software — By correlating data from known leaks, advanced platforms can map out a community’s mains and identify weak spots. This can be useful for planning infrastructure upgrades and preventing future outages.

Preventing Leaks

Prevention is always preferable to repair, which is why identifying problems along a main can be so valuable to utilities. New predictive applications can use data collected in the field to identify areas where breakages are most likely to occur. An effective tool for collecting this data is the Hydra-View system from Hydra-Stop. The Hydra-View has a state-of-the-art, tri-sensor inspection head which includes a hydro-phone for audio leak detection, a sonde for pipeline mapping, and a CCTV camera that allow technicians to have a real-time view of what’s going on inside the utility’s pipes and valves. Capable of being used in pressurized mains, the Hydra-View provides precision pipeline assessment and water leak detection without shutting down your system.

The Hydra-View is just one of the many solutions Hydra-Stop offers to help you gain control of your water and wastewater distribution systems. To learn more about everything we can do for you or to get started, reach out to us today and speak to one of our representatives.