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This paper covers a new process that detects and locates leaks from pipelines using a patented sensor tube. The sensor tube is laid parallel to a gas or liquid pipeline to monitor for vapors from a release. The sensor tube membrane has a high permeability for vapor absorption and diffusion. A vacuum is pulled on the sensor tube with cycle time dependent on the vapor pressure of the leaking substance, distance the sensor tube is placed from the leak source, and the type, compaction, and moisture content of the soil. Vapors that have diffused into the sensor tube are transported to a pump/detection unit that monitors for an increase of vapor concentration along the length of the sensor tube. The system monitors for increases in vapors concentration over the background vapors present in the soil and around the pipe. The vapors are transported at a flow controlled rate allowing leak location to be calculated. Examples of actual applications and installation techniques are provided. The paper concludes with a summary of a third party protocol developed to evaluate this techniques capability.
leak detection and location, sensor tube, diffusion, absorption, vapor monitoring
Director, Teledyne Geotech, Garland, TX