We are currently experiencing technical difficulties with our phone systems, Please call 2532237588 to get ahold of a representative .

It's a Jungle out there. Underground Utility Detection & Inspection Services

Identifying Pipe Leaks With GPR

Identifying Pipe Leaks With GPR


GPR stands for Ground Penetrating Radar. (GPR) is a geophysical method that uses radar pulses to image the subsurface. GPR works by emitting electromagnetic energy into the ground and recording the signals that bounce back. By analyzing these signals, GPR can create an image of the subsurface, which can be used to identify buried objects, geological features, or other subsurface structures. Additionally, it is commonly used in various fields, including engineering, archaeology, environmental science, and geology, among others.
GPR is a fast and efficient method for pipe leak detection, as it allows for the identification of leaks without the need for extensive excavation or other invasive testing methods. Therefore, it is an important tool for pipeline inspection and maintenance that helps to ensure the integrity and safety of the pipeline system. If you feel that there is a leak in your pipe. Then, we recommend that you hire professional leak detection services like C-N-I Locates LTD that know the step-by-step procedure of locating leaks using, acoustic leak detection, tracer gas leak detection, thermal leak detection, and GPR leak detection. Read further to explore more!

How To Identify Water Leaks with the Help Of GPR?

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is a powerful tool for identifying water pipe leaks, as it allows for non-destructive testing of the subsurface. GPR works by emitting electromagnetic energy into the ground, which interacts with any materials in its path, including pipes and leaks. Then, the reflected material is detected by the GPR antenna and recorded by the system, which can then be used to create images of the subsurface. These images can help to identify the location and size of any leaks in the pipe, as well as other features such as voids, buried utilities, or other pipes. But for that, you need assistance from professional ground penetrating radar services like C-N-I Locates LTD to achieve better results.

Let us dive into the procedures for ground penetrating radar leak detection.

    1. Preparation for the Leak Detection Test with GPR: Before we begin testing for the leak with GPR, it’s important to prepare the site to ensure accurate readings. Before arriving on site we suggest turning off the water to the pipe for 24+ hours to let the soil around the leak dry (lowering the dielectric properties of the soil). Additionally, we suggest ensuring that the ground is dry and free of standing water and removing any obstacles or debris from the area. These preparations help us to minimize interference and distortion in the GPR readings.
      Once the area has been prepared, we will need to locate the leaking pipe and the utilities around it electromagnetically, acoustically, or with GPR. During the locating process we will turn the water on to help saturate soils around the water leak (we suggest running the water for 30 minutes to more than an hour depending on the soil conditions, size of the leak, how deep the pipe is, what side of the pipe the leak is on, etc.).
    2. Equipment Setup: Once the site is prepared, the GPR equipment is set up. Then the ground penetrating radar system is calibrated to ensure accurate readings. Calibration involves setting up the equipment to consider the dielectric properties of the soil or pavement, the depth of the pipe, and other factors that can impact the accuracy of the readings. Once the GPR has been calibrated by one of our NUCLA certified ground penetrating radar technicians, they will position the antenna(s) of the GPR cart on the ground surface vertically parallel to the pipe that has the leak.
    3. Data Collection by the GPR: Once the equipment is set up and calibrated, data collection can begin. The GPR system emits electromagnetic energy into the ground, penetrating the soil and interacting with the dielectrics of any material in its path, including the pipe and the water saturation in the soil from the leaking pipe. Data collection can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the size of the area being tested.
      When our certified technicians begin scanning the pipe for a leak with GPR they will first see if the pipe is visible with ground penetrating radar (if the pipe is not visible, we will have to rely on other methods to find the leak). After identifying if the pipe is visible, our leak detection technicians push the GPR cart directly on top of the leaking pipe (so the cart is vertically parallel to the leaking pipe). The technicians will then begin looking for any locations along the pipe that are saturated, by identifying any distortions in the pipe’s reflection and the reflection of the geological layer beneath the leak. Areas that have distortion usually have higher dielectric properties, which could suggest a water leak in that area.
    4. Data Analysis: After collecting the ground penetrating radar data, the next step is to analyze it. Our technicians can analyze GPR data by using specialized software to produce 2D or 3D subsurface images. These images can be used to identify the location, depth, and size of any leaks in the pipe. By performing grid scans in conjunction with using 3D data, GPR can also identify which side of the pipe that the leaks water flow is heading, and the size of the leak by comparing data over 15 minute time periods.

    5. Leak Confirmation: After a potential leak has been identified by our technicians with ground penetrating radar, the next step is to confirm its location and size. Our leak detection experts perform this by using various other methods, such as acoustic leak detection, tracer gas leak detection, thermal imaging leak detection, or excavation (clients are responsible for excavation and repairs). Acoustic leak detection involves using a microphone or other device to listen to the sound of the leak. Tracer gas leak detection involves using a traceable gas to identify a location that is saturated by the traceable gas (typically 95% hydrogen/5% nitrogen or helium). Thermal imaging leak detection involves looking for hot or cold spots where a potential leak could be on the surface, walls, or ceilings.  In contrast to the other nondestructive methods mentioned above, excavation involves digging up the area around the pipe to visually confirm the leak. You can take assistance from reputable professionals like C-N-I Locates LTD for effortless leak confirmation.

    6. Repair by A Licensed Plumber: When a plumber is providing the repair, they will identify the exact location and size of the leak that has been identified by our leak detection experts. Repairs may involve excavation and replacement of the affected pipe section, depending on the location and severity of the leak.

Contact CNI Locates for Ground Penetrating Radar Leak Detection Services!

GPR can be a useful method for identifying pipe leaks and it can help save you time and money by quickly pinpointing the location of the leak. Contact CNI Locates for Oregon and Washington States number 1 ground-penetrating radar services. You can rely on the array of trustworthy services that C-N-I Locates LTD provides. Navigate through our other services and blog pages to explore various ways that CNI Locates performs leak detection, and other utility detection and inspection services.