Underground Infrastructure

Underground infrastructure, such as pipelines, is used to transport gas, liquid, and hazardous waste in many settings, including residential, industrial, and rural. Current pipeline leak detection technology falls into two categories; actively monitoring the pipeline for pressure losses or locating the fluid leaking from a pipeline. Accurately and efficiently locating and characterizing leaks in pipelines is critical in reducing risks and costs associated with repairs, clean up, hazardous waste release, and liability. HGI has developed a number of geophysical based technologies to provide both leak detection monitoring and leak location services for underground infrastructure. These technologies came about through years of hardware and software development on complex industrial sites,  such as at the DOE Hanford Nuclear Facility.

 Locating and characterizing leaks in underground infrastructure is critical in reducing costs associated with repairs, clean up, hazardous waste release, and liability…


Underground Infrastructure_pipe-leak

Example illustration of Pipeline Leak Location – Leak Detection

Current pipeline leak location technology usually requires some degree of invasive measurements or monitoring, and can be time consuming and costly.  HGI utilizes a number of electrically-based geophysical methods, which have a distinct advantage of allowing the sensors to be distant from the leak source.  The electrical method applied to leak location is based on detecting the contrast produced in the electrical properties of the subsurface by the addition of the fluid leaking from a pipeline.  In situations where drilling and excavating present potential hazardous contact with leaking fluids, electrical geophysics can provide a solution for leak detection and visualization without the need for excavation or drilling during the survey.  All of our methods can be mounted on mobile platforms and measurements can be made rapidly on the move while surveying along pipeline routes.  In the example below, a multi-channel TEM instrument is mounted on a cart being towed behind an ATV.  Continuous measurements are made along the pipeline and the plot at the top illustrates the contrast between responses over the sound and leaking pipeline.

HGI also provides continuous leak detection monitoring for underground pipelines and storage tanks for short or long term deployments.  The services offered are discussed in more detail in the ‘Applications – Tanks’ page, and is applicable to any type of complex or dense underground infrastructure at industrial sites or beyond.  Our electrical methods  also have the advantage of being able to use the existing infrastructure (for example monitoring wells, storage tanks, etc) as additional sensors to reduce costs and enhance the survey coverage and resolution at depth.    An example deliverable is presented below of an electrical resistivity survey of a subsurface conductive plume resulting from fluid leak from underground infrastructure at the DOE Hanford Nuclear Site, WA.

Underground Infrastructure_3D tank plume

Illustration of underground tank farm leak and the associated leak plume.