Simply Leak Detection located this water pipe in addition to finding a small leak needing repair for a homeowner in Olympia WA. This water pipe was installed without a trace wire like many underground plastic water pipes. This makes them virtually impossible to locate without the application of sonic pipe locating technologies.
Ground penetrating radar is often used to locate underground plastic water pipes. This technology is amazing however has several limitations that heavily apply to locating small diameter plastic water pipes. Some limitations will include soil types or terrain.
Visual limitation is the bigger issue when locating small diameter plastic water pipes. GPR visual limitation is the standard rule of one inch per foot. For example, a four inch diameter water main can be easily seen at four feet of depth or less however not as easily at five feet. Most light commercial or residential water pipes will average three to four feet deep with average pipe diameters between one and two inch. If GPR technologies are applied, the rule of one inch per foot would mean that this technology wouldn’t be very effective. For example, a two inch plastic water pipe could be located if buried two feet deep or less and a one inch pipe could be located if buried one foot deep or less. Neither however can be seen by GPR technologies if buried at three to four feet deep.
This technology however is highly effective in applications of large commercial or municipal use. Large diameter drain pipes, culverts, water mains, underground vaults and more can be easily seen. The terrain too is often more suitable for rolling equipment. Soil conditions may include added gravel which GPR can see through much more easily than clay or wet soils. GPR however may not perform very well when applied to locating small diameter water pipes.
Locating water pipes are often a part of most leak detection services. Locates are performed on all kinds of plastic pipes initially installed without a trace wire. Locating these pipes are especially important on properties when there is no visible pipe entrance into a house or building. This valued added information is highly important for plumbing contractors that arrive after a leak is located. At arrival, an experienced plumbing contractor will immediately see several possible repair solutions. The right solution will depend largely on where the leak is located. Solutions can range from a cost effective repair to a full replacement. Without an underground plastic pipe locate, a replacement solution if needed or desired would be very difficult. The pipe would need to be located to bid a price or certainly to perform a replacement.
There are several technologies used today to locate underground plastic water pipes. The technology used will always depend on which will be best applied to the property needing the locates performed.
I try to make this a common practice on such properties whether residential or commercial. Referring contractors will often see this need and request this value added service ahead of my appointment.
Michael Fend – 253.886.1400 direct