Leak Detection Services Explained

Leak Detection services


Leak Detection services help municipalities, utilities, and industrial facilities maintain safe, efficient water distribution within a domestic supply network and fire protection systems.

Severe water leaks can cause significant problems underground by eroding soil, causing voids, and compromising the integrity of buildings without any water ever coming to the surface. GPRS can quickly pinpoint a known leak when a problem is identified or can proactively search for leaks along a domestic water or fire system for a municipality or facility.

But how common is water loss? Researchers at the American Water Works Association estimated that we collectively lose more than two trillion gallons of water due to leaks within the current infrastructure. That is enough to submerge Manhattan 300 feet underwater. However, underground leak detection and routine water loss inspections can mitigate this loss.

GPRS specializes in all types of leak detection, including municipal, industrial, and residential. Our Leak Detection Specialists have the equipment to locate your leak and the expertise to provide many other insights into your water distribution system. GPRS is the leak detector you can trust.

What Leak Detection Methods does GPRS use?

GPRS is proud to offer both acoustic leak detectors and leak noise correlators to accurately locate your leak. Acoustic leak detection uses sophisticated ground microphones to listen for leaks coming from subsurface pipes while leak noise correlators are specialized electronic devices that locate leaks in water lines and water pipes quickly and accurately. Both methods are explained in detail below.

Leak detectors to eliminate the need to dig out the ground


It is highly recommended to use acoustic leak detectors to eliminate the need to dig out the ground or remove structures to inspect pipes physically. Digging out the ground requires significant effort and will require repairs and replacements afterward. Physically finding leaks involves trial and error and takes time. Acoustic detector sand leak correlators eliminate the need for manual inspection of the lines. Because these leak detection methods don’t require digging up or damaging the environment, it's much more cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

Leak Detection Specialists utilize various technologies and decades of expertise to pinpoint any leak, from a significant 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.

There are two primary technologies that most leak detectors utilize, acoustic leak detection and leak noise correlators.


Acoustic leak detection uses sophisticated ground microphones to listen for leaks coming from subsurface pipes. Our Leak Detection Specialists are thoroughly trained to home in on leaking pipes' specific sounds and frequencies.

To understand how acoustic underground water leak detection works, we first need to understand acoustics. Acoustics is the property of how sounds are transferred and reflected through buildings, rooms, or objects.

Vibration is the source of sound. Vibration occurs when an object moves rapidly back and forth. A ringing bell moves the surrounding air, making it vibrate. Sound propagates outward from the ringing bell. If the vibration is more significant, the sound produced will have more energy. Sound moves away from the bell in waves. Sound waves move through air, water, and solids.

Acoustic leak detection uses sophisticated ground microphones

Different types of matter transmit sound differently. The difference comes from the distance between the particles. The particles in gases, such as air, are farther apart than liquids. In liquids, like water, particles are further apart than in solids. Solids transfer sound quickly since the particles that make them up are close together. Sound energy is transferred more efficiently between particles that are close together. Liquids and air transmit sound much slower because the particles are farther apart. As a result, the speed of sound varies, especially in gases.

When an object vibrates, it causes vibrations in the matter surrounding it. The bell sends sound waves through the air and the ground in all directions.

The same properties of the bell ringing apply to a leaking pipe. As a pipe leaks, the water that pushes through the compromised material creates a vibration through the pipe. The vibration produces a frequency that can be heard by sensitive audio equipment.

Pipes made of metal, such as cast iron/ductile mains, smaller copper service lines, and steel pipes, transmit water leak sounds over longer distances than those made of PVC or asbestos-cement pipes. PVC pipes transmit very little sound at all. It’s common for leak detection services to take longer if a pipe leaking is PVC rather than cast iron. When searching for a leak within a PVC system, leak detection specialists typically need to take more acoustic readings to pinpoint the leak's location.

Additionally, it is critical to consider the pipe material and the size. Small diameter pipes are more likely to transmit more sound than large diameter pipes, regardless of their material. Large diameter pipes transmit lower frequency sounds than small diameter pipes.

Leak detection correlators


Leak detection correlators, also called leak noise correlators, are specialized electronic devices that leak detection service companies like us use to locate leaks in water lines and water pipes quickly and accurately.

In principle, leak detection correlators work similarly to acoustic leak detectors, but they complete this method differently. While acoustic leak detectors rely on a human to manually listen to the frequencies emitted through sensitive audio listening equipment, leak noise correlators detect the vibrations with a computer.

Sensors are placed on both sides of the pipe, and these sensors send information back and forth between each over via radio. An automated process identifies each suspected leak location and displays it on the main control unit in response to the detected anomalies. The processing unit then compares this data with mathematical algorithms designed for the specific noise profiles of the pipe material being tested, determining where the leak is coming from between each sensor’s location.

To perform an accurate time calculation, leak correlators need precise information about the material the leak sound travels. Users usually must enter the pipe size, type, and distances between each logger. The calculation can be done using the sound speed of standard pipe sizes. Obtaining an accurate leak correlation will require calculating the speed of sound through unknown materials on site.

Sound levels and frequencies provide additional information about the leak, such as its size and severity or whether it occurs on a pipe, valve, hydrant, or in a service line. The primary purpose of leak correlators is to detect leaks. Leaks are first detected, then pinpointed for repair if discovered.Leak noise correlators are used with acoustic leak detectors to create an accurate map of leaks.

Our Leak Detection Specialists map out the leaks using the data from the leak detection correlators and then more accurately pinpoint the leaks using their acoustic leak detection equipment.


While leak detection methods most likely remain the same, the practice of data collection and mapping will likely evolve in the years to come.

Legislation is also a significant factor to consider when speculating what the future of leak detection looks like. Because of the massive water losses and the continually faltering infrastructure, leak detection may be critical in future infrastructure repairs.

Additionally, with the cloud becoming a more significant part of our everyday lives, we can predict that databases will one day be the primary storage of pipelines and location data.

Currently, data is siloed and challenging to access between areas and companies. Eventually, a centralized service could store and collect pipeline location data. This data will most likely be acquired and managed by private utility locators through a shared database or individual methods.

These databases would be valuable storehouses of information that could benefit facility owners and managers in perpetuity.

Project Managers who are SIM trained and qualified.


With over 250,000 projects completed, GPRS combines top-of-the-line technology and equipment with Project Managers who are SIM trained and qualified. This means that not only do they have the best tools available, but they have been trained and mentored to assess every situation possible, placing safety above all.

If you have been searching for a water leak detection company that you can rely on, the GPRS team is here to help!

So don't delay; schedule a routine water loss inspection to make sure that your water lines are secure.

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