Water Leak Detection Using Helium

A DWI approved patented solution

iDroloc is a leak detection system which injects a tracer gas (Helium) into the water main to detect leaks without interruption to service. It can be applied to large diameter mains, smaller distribution pipes, or household connections within an urban area. iDroloc can detect very small leaks, even in large diameter pipes and offers an accurate and efficient alternative to conventional acoustic methods. As a pipe condition assessment tool, iDroloc can be used to detect minor leaks in joints to prevent future leakage. iDroloc can also be used to commission newly constructed pipework. Helium gas and compressed air can be used to pressure test the pipework and then identify any leaks if detected.

The principle of helium leak detection

Helium is introduced into the water flow via an under pressure tapping on the pipe. Any leaks in the pipework are identified when the gas/water escapes through the leaks in the pipework. The water carries the Helium out of the pipe and as gas is lighter than air, it rises to the surface. The concentration of Helium in the atmosphere is very small, allowing accurate detection at ground level.

Water Leak Detection

How it works

1) Helium gas is inserted through the tapping into the flow of water in the pipe

2) Engineers ensure the helium gas has travelled the full length of the pipe being surveyed

3) Engineers travel the full length of the pipe checking for any signs of helium, indicating that a leak is below.

idroloc
Water Leak Detection

Uses

•  It can be applied to large diameter mains, smaller distribution pipes or house hold connections within urban areas and on all pipe materials

•  Even in large diameter pipes, iDroloc can detect very small leaks and offers an accurate and efficient alternative to conventional acoustic methods

•  iDroloc can be used as a pipe condition assessment tool and can detect minor leaks in joints to prevent further damage and future leakage

•  iDroloc can be used as a pre-commissioning solution on newly constructed pipework. Helium gas and compressed air can be used to pressure test the pipework and then identify any leaks if detected.

Features

•  Zero customer disruption – all work is carried out on the live network

•  Leaks can be located on areas that have a high percentage of plastic or non-metallic pipework – does not rely on sound to locate leaks

•  Detection is fast and accurate in large pipes, where standard methods may not always be reliable

•  Most effective method for leak detection on non-metallic pipes and/or low network pressures.

helium leak detection
South West Water Case Study

Successful applications of leak detection using helium:

“The gas detection at Fordingbridge was very accurate and lead us to find a full length 9M split in an 8” PVC main. Data shows the flow to the area increased from 13 l/s to 38 l/s until the burst was isolated.”
Bournemouth Water, UK

Frequently Asked Questions

Will any customers be affected?

Some customers near the helium insertion point may experience some ‘air in supply’, we recommend warning customers prior to attending site to avoid any unwanted calls.

Is this technique DWI approved?

Yes, the iDroloc process is fully approved under Regulation 31 of the Drinking Water Inspectorate for use on live water mains.

What is the accuracy of the technique?

Our trained operators will expect to locate the leak within two miles, and on most occasions within that distance.

What distance of pipe can be surveyed in one day?

Each team can survey between 1 and 1.5km of pipework each day.

What terrain can be surveyed?

We can work in both urban and rural locations and have the ability to cross fields.

How is the helium gas inserted?

Helium gas is inserted through a probe directly into the flow of water. Ideally a 1” (25.4mm) valve controlled tapping, directly on the main will be sufficient. The chamber should be large enough to allow access to the valve.

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