A New Method for Detecting Leaks in Underground Water Pipelines
In most water distribution systems, a fairly sizable amount of water is lost because of leaks and faults in pipes. For this reason, the individuation of leaks is extremely important for the optimization and rationalization of water resources. However, the techniques and methodologies that are currently used for the individuation of leaks, despite being universally accepted, are extremely time-consuming and require highly-experienced personnel. Additionally, such techniques become unreliable and ineffective when the measurements are not performed in specific operating conditions of the pipe (e.g., high water pressure). On this basis, in this paper, a time domain reflectometry (TDR)-based system for the non-invasive detection of leaks in underground metal pipes is presented. Not only does the adoption of the developed system leads to accurately pinpoint the leak, but it also allows to dramatically reduce the required inspection times. The TDR-based system for leak detection is described in detail (with particular attention to the measurement principle behind the method and to the methodology). Furthermore, a strategy for enhancing the accuracy in pinpointing the leak is addressed. The proposed system is validated through experimental campaign that consisted in carrying out a leak-detection survey through the traditional methods and through the proposed method.