For water tanks, whether it be in the oil and gas industry, municipal water distribution systems, wastewater treatment facilities, or residential homes, a leak can lead to critical conditions for your water system and surrounding infrastructure. There can be various causes of water leaks, and sometimes, the specific location of the leak’s origin can be difficult to identify. Fortunately, there are tools available to assist in this problem.
Common Causes of Leaks in Water Tanks and Water Lines
There are a few common causes of leaks in water tanks and in water lines. It is important to be aware of these common problems.
Corrosion is a primary cause of leaks in water tanks and water lines. Corrosion is a natural occurrence within any tank or pipe’s life cycle, however, it must be addressed quickly in order to prevent water loss and other damages. This is an issue to look out for especially if your water tank is older.
Freezing is another threat that can cause leaks in water tanks and pipes. Ground temperature and humidity are at play when a frozen pipe causes a leak.
When water freezes, it expands, and if this expansion puts pressure on the pipe wall, cracking can occur. Additionally, if there are already places weakened by corrosion, this can make tanks or pipes particularly vulnerable to the effects of water freezing.
Leaky valves, Broken Seals, and Damaged Pipe Joints
In water lines, leaky valves, broken seals, and damaged pipe joints can be the culprit of water leaks. It is important to ensure that valves and seals are in working order, and that they will stand the test of time when performing their function. Pipe joints can actually be a highly vulnerable element in a water distribution system. Because of their small surface area, they are likely to rust and corrode more quickly than other pieces in your system.
Water Pressure is Too High or Fluctuating to Much
High or fluctuating water pressure or water flow can additionally be a problem in water lines. There is only so much pressure and volume of water that water lines can handle, and it is important to ensure your water system will not overload this limit.
Why is Leak Detection Important?
Leaks from water tanks and water lines can cause damages to infrastructure, other surrounding equipment, and Water loss can additionally reduce productivity in water distribution operations significantly, which can hurt your water distribution system financially. The cost of delay in operations can factor in as well.
More importantly, water loss from water distribution systems can also be economically and environmentally costly. How much water is lost every year? It has been estimated that billions of liters of water are lost every year worldwide due to leakage, and some studies have revealed that water transmission pipes can lose up to 30% of water (50% in older aged systems). If leaks occur in wastewater treatment plants, hazardous conditions may develop on-site that leave a negative environmental impact.
Advancements in leak detection technologies, such as smart water leak detectors and water leak sensors can help reduce water damage caused by leaks and reduce the time of shut off water and other disruptions, by allowing you to better detect underground water leaks and other leak types.
Having a proactive leak detection plan can prevent water loss and damages to infrastructure and the environment. With advanced solutions available for leak detection in water tanks and water lines, you can minimize or even eliminate these risks.
Applications for Remote Monitoring for Detecting Leaks in Water Tanks and Water Lines
Remote monitoring can solve many problems in your water storage and distribution system. In the past, water leak detection methods were often limited to things like visual inspection and “bubble tests”. Now, advanced smart solutions for leak detection via remote monitoring are available that can take leak prevention and response to the next level, keeping problems from becoming critical situations.
How to Use Remote Monitoring for Leak Detection
There are several situations in which remote water monitoring is the ideal solution for water leak detection. This is especially apparent in water distribution systems that are hard to get to. Remote water leak detectors are one type of water line leak detection method for underground pipe leak detection. Here are a few major applications for remote monitoring and how it can help your leak detection strategy:
1. Water Storage Tank Leak Detection
One of the biggest applications for remote monitoring for the purpose of leak detection is with water storage tanks. In water systems where pumps automatically fill a tank based on water levels, for example, water towers, pump activity indicated by flow monitors can additionally indicate a water retention issue.
Water level sensors can inform you of the volume of water in your tank, and even alert you to a sudden drop in water levels or abnormal flow activity. Immediate access to this information provided by remote monitors allows a quick response before significant water loss occurs.
2. Detecting Leaks in Water Lines in Buildings and Industrial Facilities
Identifying and locating leaks in houses, industrial buildings, or other facilities is critical for preventing damages to surrounding equipment and infrastructure. In houses, walls and ceilings can experience significant deterioration as a result of leaking pipes. In water distribution systems where water lines are surrounded by pumps and other equipment, exposure to water can increase the risk of corrosion and prematurely age equipment. It can also present “slipping” hazards for workers in the facility.
The swiftness with which remote monitoring can help you identify potential leaks help to eliminate the risk of these damages. Additionally, analyzing trends data collected by flow and pressure monitors can help you plan for the purchase of repair parts, ensuring that the right components are chosen that can meet the needs of your water system. For example, the amount of stress and pressure a pipe can handle.
3. Underground Water Pipe Leak Detection
Underground water lines are not always easy to monitor, and visual inspection of pipe infrastructure is not normally an option. Remote monitoring options eliminate the difficulties of managing underground water pipes. Remote flow meters and pressure sensors can provide real time data that can tell you a lot about the health of your underground water pipes.
A big benefit of using this approach is that digging up pipes when you think there may be a leak can be very costly. Often, you may not know there is an issue with underground pipe systems until there is above-ground evidence, which may not be soon enough to remedy the problem without first suffering significant water loss. Using remote monitoring lets you identify evidence of leaks before the environment is affected, and before valuable water resources are lost.