A 6” ductile iron water main, installed under the main north / south highway through the Silicon Valley many decades ago, was suspected to be leaking under the emergency lane of highway US 101. Due to excessive ambient noise levels, limited access points and their spacing, and fundamentally because the water main was sleeved in a steel casing, traditional leak detection methods would not be effective.
Aquam Pipe Diagnostics (APD) was tasked with locating the position of the suspected leak with its state of the art in-line leak detection and pipeline inspection platform, the Investigator™. The Investigator™ is a pressurized pipe inspection and leak detection tool which features a high definition CCTV camera for visual condition assessment, a hydrophone for leak detection, and a sonde for pipeline tracing.
A team of APD pipeline diagnostics specialists mobilized to the inspection site in East Palo Alto and successfully confirmed a significant leak at a joint on the east side of the highway, which was on the opposite side of the highway as initially suspected. The leak was found within 2 hours of full insertion into the 6” ductile iron main and accurately pinpointed above ground using an underground pipe locator to detect the 512Hz sonde that is incorporated into the Investigator sensor head.
The Results and Benefits
APD offered an innovative solution to locating a leak in a complex situation which would otherwise challenge conventional leak detection technologies.
In addition, the inspection was conducted on a live pressurized pipe and did not incur costly shutdowns or traffic disruption to daily commuters. This pipe was at high risk and in a critical location. The consequence of failure could have been devastating. Extensive collateral damage, compromised public health and safety, and costly repairs would have ensued if this leak had gone undetected.
A water company supervisor said, “The Investigator™ system was fantastic and wonderful,” and was very impressed with the performance.