Acoustic Leak Detection Services by GPRS Help Save Thousands of Dollars For Facility Managers & Engineers, Nationwide.

Acoustic leak detection provides Tennessee facility in depth mapping of water lines and pinpoint accuracy of subsurface leaks.

Acoustic Leak Detection Services by GPRS Help Save Thousands of Dollars For Facility Managers & Engineers, Nationwide.

Acoustic leak detection provides Tennessee facility in depth mapping of water lines and pinpoint accuracy of subsurface leaks.

What would you do if you discovered underground water leaks were costing you $8,000 per month?

Underground water leaks can cost time, money, and risk the safety of you and your team if not proactively addressed.

Industrial machinery manufacturing company, Mersen, came face to face with this reality as GPRS’ Rick Blackburn accurately mapped out and pinpointed underground leaks in their plant’s pressurized water system.

When it comes to managing industrial facilities, unseen leaks can trigger waves of lost resources and skyrocketing utility bills. For Mersen's plant in Tennessee, the advanced acoustic leak detection services of GPRS offered a solution to their persistent problem with precision and in a pivotal way for the facility manager and engineer on site.

Blackburn, a GPRS SIM-certified Project Manager, showcased how the power of multiple forms of technology – when enhanced by the diligence and methodology of a GPRS Project Manager - can result in an enormous save for the facility in which work is being conducted. His story isn’t just about preventing water waste; it's a testimony to the synergy between expertise and technology in preserving the planet’s precious resources.

The Mission

Beneath the bustling operations of the Mersen plant, that specializes in manufacturing carbon blocks, lays a network of pressurized underground water lines. Tasked with a critical mission, Blackburn began an underground leak detection survey to uncover potential water leaks within a 200-foot perimeter of the fire loop and domestic water systems. The company required this work to be completed prior to pouring  a new concrete pad on the property in preparation for new building construction.

The Process: Locate the Lines

Before locating any leaks, Blackburn first used ground penetrating radar (GPR) to locate the buried water lines in the scope of work, marking them on the surface and uploading the data into GPRS’ water utility mapping software, SiteMap®(patent pending). Once every line had been accurately located and marked, Blackburn, equipped with an FCS leak correlator and DXMic Pro by Fluid Conservation Systems, began to conduct an initial leak survey. Throughout the initial investigation of the subsurface water lines in the proposed area of work, Blackburn's findings concluded that no leaks were present within the proposed work locations.

However, driven by GPRS’ commitment to provide sensational service, and industry-leading methodology and training through SIM, Blackburn extended his scrutiny—an action that led to an enormous discovery.

The Find: Large Underground Water Leak

Farther along the domestic water line, away from the initial investigation’s focal point, Blackburn uncovered a defect within the system—a significant leak hemorrhaging over 700,000 gallons of water in the few months prior to it being discovered. His proactive approach and skillful application of technology and his trained ear allowed him to differentiate between leaks and other ambient noises culminated in tangible financial savings for Mersen. They were able to stem the outflow and prevent an astounding $96,000 dollars per year in non-revenue water loss.

Flooded pavement caused by underground water leak
Flooded job site due to massive underground water leak at plant

The Expanding Scope

Impressed by this discovery and the estimated $8,000 dollars- worth of monthly savings as a result of Blackburn’s diligence and investigation, the plant's Facility Engineer requested that  the entire property have a full-scale site leak survey to unearth any remaining hidden leaks. The ductile iron water pipes provided a cooperative medium for Blackburn's water leak detection equipment, including the elephant foot by FCS, created for the very purpose of blocking additional noise to listen and pinpoint the exact locations of a leak.  

Leak Detection Project Manager Listening for underground water leak
GPRS Project Manager pinpoints exact location of subsurface water leak with FCS’s Elephant Foot.

The subsequent finds from the remainder of the site’s water lines were staggering. Blackburn identified five additional leaks, including a large break in an 8-inch fire line system that was gushing out 10,000 gallons out water per day.

The team at Mersen had to shut off the fire line to repair the leak on the 80-year-old system because water was spewing up from the ground when the surface was disturbed for repairs. Evidence of the water’s unrelenting force, washing out the foundations it flowed beneath, are shown in the image below—a danger that would have remain undetected if not for the vigilant eyes and ears of Blackburn and his equipment.

The Visualization

Sunk in concrete due to burst underground water pipe
Concrete slab sinks into the ground once saw cutting occurs due to an 8” ductile iron water line with a full circular break.


Capitalizing on silence during a recommended full plant shutdown, Blackburn, with his acoustic leak devices and well-trained ear, investigated for additional leaks on the ductile iron system. Post-repair, SiteMap® stored the newly updated water map as builts, providing Mersen with an invaluable, updated digital map, a stark contrast from the obsolete 22-year-old chart they had been using.

Water utility map on dashboard
Water Utility Mapping Software, SiteMap® displays all accurate water utility as built documentation for Mersen plant.

Once the leaks had been located and accurately marked, repair work began. From saw cutting of the concrete and excavation of dirt to the repair of the leaking line and repaving of the asphalt, Blackburn’s extra effort from day one on the job resulted in a safer job site and a massively reduced water cost due to mitigated non-revenue water loss and project reworks that would have occurred if not for the leak survey.

The Outcome

Newly paved over concrete after repairing water leak
Concrete slab repairs after fixing underground water line.

Rick Blackburn’s intervention displayed GPRS's core benefits—time conservation, financial savings, and maintaining safety and integrity across job sites. Beyond detecting leaks, it’s about securing infrastructure for the future and maintaining reputations built on reliability.

Who To Call For An Underground Water Leak

To understand the financial relief and operational stability that accurate leak detection by GPRS can offer you, as it did for the team at Mersen, contact a GPRS Leak Detection Project Manager today.

For consultation and services that could turn your leak issues into a tale of savings and safety, click here.


Rick Blackburn's story is one of the many successes facilitated by GPRS, where innovative solutions are not just about fixing problems but about Intelligently Visualizing the Built World® to transform common challenges for Facility Managers and Engineers into opportunities for growth and sustainability.

To learn more about how a GPRS Leak Detection specialist can help keep money in your pocket and reworks on your job site to a minimum, request a quote or schedule a service, today.


How Do I tell if a pipe is leaking underground?

When water leaks through a cracked or damaged pipe, it makes a specific sound. Well - trained water loss prevention specialists are able to determine not only the existence of a leak, but its exact location, which lets you target repairs and minimize the damage, time, and expense of additional pipe excavation.

One of the most accurate ways to find a leak in a pressurized water pipe is through the use of a sensitive ground microphone or acoustic listening device. The microphone is either used at the surface level, or is dropped into a manhole, and the Leak Detection Project Manager uses headphones to listen to and isolate the leak tone. In pressurized pipes, the sound of a leak is pitched low and has a baritone or “hollow” sound, which comes from the vibration of the leak as it travels down the pipe. Leak detection professionals listen for this distinctive hollow tone because it is almost always present in leaking pipes pressurized at 30 psi and above.

Who do I Call for an Underground Water Leak?

For pressurized underground pipes, call us. GPRS Leak Detection Specialists utilize various technologies and decades of expertise to pinpoint any type of leak, from a major water main break to a small crack in a service pipe. Leak locations are verified with correlating software in real-time. In addition, our leak detection services can be integrated with other services such as Valve Exercising, infrastructure mapping, and utility locating to improve efficiencies and help customers achieve a fuller understanding of underground infrastructure.

How Do I find a busted water pipe underground?