Pinpointing Massive Leak for the Target Corporation in New York

Ground Penetrating Radar Systems (GPRS) was recently contacted for emergency leak detection services in Rochester, a city in Monroe County, New York. The facility was a large-scale Target distribution warehouse; an emergency fire watch was in place as sections of the fire protection loop had to be shut down due to water surfacing over a large area in multiple loading docks.

GPRS Subsurface Consultant, Steve Carney, was called on to investigate the situation. In order to locate the pipe leak, the water needed to be turned back on, so Steve recommended trying to locate the leak at a lower pressure to prevent further water loss. Once the water was at street pressure (80 PSI), acoustic leak testing was performed using an acoustic listening device on the available contact points which included 2 hydrants and 3 risers within the facility. GPRS’ industry-leading leak detection equipment was able to figure out the leak was on a lateral, off the main fire loop, which fed the warehouse. To further pinpoint the exact location of the water pipe leak, a leak detection correlator was used. This process confirmed Steve was in the right location to further pinpoint the leak and trace the main out using a pipe and cable locator before performing surface acoustic testing directly above the target pipe. At this point, some acoustic signal could be heard through the concrete dock but better yet there was the capability to increase the pressure by means of a pump, therefore the pipe leak location could be found more accurately and precisely. Once the pump was turned on, the pressure was increased from 80 PSI to 170 PSI, where GPRS water loss specialists were then able to clearly hear the leak on the surface. To get further confirmation on this water pipe leak location he inserted a video pipe inspection camera through the riser in the building, into the direction of the main. He did get a visual during the video camera inspection of silt entering the pipe as it was draining. This confirmed the leak location, where a water loss specialist was then able to locate the utilities around the dig site using the pipe and cable locator. The excavation ended up taking place between a 4-inch gas main and electrical duct bank. The pipe locates were confirmed with a vac. truck and the dig commenced. Once the concrete was saw cut and jack hammering was performed, a big void under the concrete materialized. (This was very concerning as just the night before a fully laden tractor trailer was parked in this exact spot.) Furthermore, the main was exposed 12 feet below grade and the water pipe leak was found to be a mechanical joint that had rotted out. The customer was then informed that these types of situations may happen in the future with these joints as rocks could not be seen above or below this pipe joint, potentially being the cause of the leak. However, it’s possible the corrosive elements of the soil on the bolts could become the problem.

GPRS has the capability to provide many subsurface solutions catered to your needs: including pipeline pressure failures in Albany, NY, full system leak surveys in Rochester, NY and utility location in Toledo, OH just to name a few. If you’re in need of GPRS’ expert leak detection services in the Rochester area, please visit or call 303-945-5415.

Note: GPRS does not provide geophysical, geological, land surveying or engineering services.  If you need such services, please contact an appropriate professional.