What is non-invasive leak detection & how does it work?

Water leaks and main breaks are on the rise due to deteriorating water systems left unchecked. On average, these leaks run undetected for more than six months before it surfaces. The consequence of undetected leaks can be severe with up to 15–30% of treated potable water is lost through leaks.

Fortunately, water leak detection companies such as Echologics® can detect leaks with a variety of non-invasive acoustic leak detection technologies. These solutions are helping utilities cost-effectively and efficiently detect leaks in difficult pipe types without breaking ground or disrupting service—offering significant water-savings potential.


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How Acoustic Leak Technology Works

Leaks create a distinctive noise as water leaves the pipe, with smaller leaks producing a higher-frequency sound and larger leaks having a lower-frequency sound. An acoustic leak detection device locates leaks by characterizing and differentiating leak sounds from those of normal water flow through the distribution system. Here's an overview of three acoustic leak detection solutions provided by Echologics.

1. EchoShore®-M Transmission Main Inspection
EchoShore-M is an acoustic leak detection solution that uses advanced signal processing and acoustic sensor design to locate “quiet leaks” and filter out background noise commonly experienced on large diameter pipeline assets.

It can accurately locate leaks on virtually any type of pipe material including plastic mains. After bracketing a section of the transmission main with two magnetic surface mounted sensors, or hydrophones and recording an acoustic noise file, the leak noise data is captured and uploaded to a computer for analysis.

2. ePulse® Pipeline Condition Assessment
Echologics' ePulse condition assessment approach identifies the condition of both distribution and transmission mains, while simultaneously searching for leaks, all without the need for large excavations or service disruptions.

The technology measures the actual strength of the pipe wall by placing a microscopic flex on the pipe walls using sound waves. Acoustic sensors are attached to existing contact points, such as fire hydrants, valves or directly in contact with a pipe, where it captures the time it takes the sound wave to travel between two sensor stations to dictate the condition of the pipe wall.

Once the acoustic data is captured, Echologics' engineers use patented algorithms to convert the data into a measure of the average minimum remaining wall thickness of the inspected pipe segment.

3. Continuous monitoring through sensor & IoT (Echoshore®-DX)
The EchoShore-DX platform is a fixed leak detection technology that incorporates the latest generation of acoustic sensors. The sensors, which are embedded in an intelligent node, are built into a standard fire hydrant cap and are capable of identifying extremely faint acoustical noises emitted by leaks before they become detectable by conventional methods. This early detection capability enables utilities to prioritize repair based on actual need and the most effective allocation of repair crews.

Choosing the Right Solution

How do you determine which solution is right for you? Below are comparisons of the three acoustic leak detection solutions and their typical applications:

EchoShore-M Transmission Main Inspection

  • Identify location of a difficult to find leak
  • Proactive asset management programs
  • Non-revenue water loss control programs
  • Field information capture for GIS systems
  • Can be applied to various pipe materials including PCCP, steel, cast iron, ductile iron, and PVC and plastic.

ePulse Condition Pipeline Assessment

  • Understand the condition of a specific pipe section
  • Gather asset information for CIP plan
  • Confirm and validate desktop studies
  • Validate and confirm need prior to pipe replacement
  • Selection of pipe rehabilitation and lining strategy
  • Understand pipe condition prior to road resurfacing

EchoShore-DX Platform

  • Identify system failure points before they impact customer service levels
  • Compatible with dry or wet barrel fire hydrants
  • Compatible with standard 4-inch or 4.5-inch hydrant nozzle pumper caps

The consequences of undetected leaks are costly—but can be avoided. Echologics provides access to the best-available acoustic technology to help users overcome their water infrastructure challenges. To learn more about our solutions, contact our experts.


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