A Pressurized Pipe Inspection and Leak Detection System Showed San Diego State University Where a Water Leak Orginated
June 17, 2015Shortly after HPS Mechanical, a large-scale mechanical contractor, installed 550 ft of 6-in. C900 PVC water main as part of a reconstruction project at San Diego State University, an issue arose in which water was appearing to run into a steam vault located in the newly reconstructed and paved street.
Fortunately for the University and HPS Mechanical, their journey to find the source of the leak was eased after many trials and tribulations when they discovered JD7, a specialized technology provider focused on pipeline assessments and inspection solutions for all pressurized pipeline utility sectors.
The HPS Mechanical’s initial belief was that the brand new steam line installed by another contractor in the same trench as the new water main was failing, so they isolated the steam line without a resolution. As the water continued to come in through the steam vault, the customer began to worry that it was caused by the newly constructed water main line.
HPS Mechanical knew that this could not have been caused by the upgraded infrastructure because it had gone through rigorous testing and passed all inspections in front of the fire marshall and staff. They were determined to help the University source the leak.
The contractor believed the only solution to find the leak was the traditional method of ‘potholing’ the entire line, but since the street was recently reconstructed and re-paved, it was not a viable solution.
The engineering staff and the plumbing supervisor had very little luck using any type of surface leak detection equipment in open areas away from a structure.
If There’s a Will,There’s a Way
Staying firm in its belief that HPS Mechanical was not at fault, the company went to a live event for water, gas and industrial pipelines hosted by JD7 in San Diego to find a better way.
With the newest technology for inspection and assessment, not only can JD7 pinpoint leaks, but it can also investigate pipe wall conditions, material validation, sediment issues, blockages, valve identification and operation, contamination and quality issues and even project life expectancy of the pipe.
HPS Mechanical was impressed with what the technology could do during the event and requested JD7 to help source the leak.
“We were confident that our technology would perform for HPS Mechanical and San Diego State University,” said JD7 regional manager Mark Ames.
Shortly after the demonstration, JD7 showed up on the jobsite with the supervisors from the plumbing and engineering staff of the University to watch the inspection take place.
JD7 was granted access to the system via a fire hydrant that was removed by HPS Mechanical. To launch the Investigator Pro system, JD7 placed an adaptor plate on the hydrants spool and launched the investigation system into the water main using a 320-ft push rod. A closed circuit camera and hydrophone was set up to allow the technician to hear what was displayed on the monitor. The hydrophone turns the sound into frequency for verifying the source of the leak acoustically.
The Investigator Pro is a fully integral pressurized pipe inspection and leak detection system designed for harsh environments that is able to work safely inside fully pressurized, in-service potable water mains.
A key benefit to using this system was that the investigation could be performed while the system was live, which meant the University campus and a Starbucks coffeehouse, which are both tied to the same water main, were left unaffected by the process.
After inspecting the recently installed main line, JD7 determined that there were no leaks in that portion of the system and continued the inspection into an existing fire hydrant branch that was not part of the reconstruction.
Verifying the Leak Source
As JD7 continued the investigation through the existing fire hydrant, it was clear that the pipe was deflected from a misaligned mechanical joint under the sidewalk. An integrated sonde allowed pinpoint location of the verified leak and can even transmit even through ductile iron.
The closed circuit camera and hydrophone allowed JD7 to verify the source of the leak acoustically. JD7 continued the inspection along the existing fire hydrant branch line to ensure no other portion was leaking.
“The Investigator Pro provided the validation that was needed in determining the active leak was not from the new water main, and that the piping installed was operating flawlessly,” said Ames. “The Investigator Pro works like nothing I have ever seen in my 28 years of plumbing industry experience, and it has so many possible applications. I was pleased that we were able to showcase its capabilities in a high stress, high visibility job, and help our customers preserve new infrastructure.”
“JD7 stopped a war that was brewing,” said Loren Waldapfel, HPS Mechanical project development. “Couldn’t be happier with the technology, and how it performed.”
HPS Mechanical excavated and repaired the existing branch line that was not part of the original main replacement, without disruption or damage to the new street and without stress to warranty with the University.
The engineering staff and the Plumbing Supervisor said JD7’s technology would make their jobs a lot easier in the future.
Alyscia Sutch is marketing and public relations manager for JD7.
Tags: JD7, June 2015 Print Issue