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Sewer pipe leaks located – using sonic leak detection tools.

New construction sewer pipe system leaks prevented the whole job from passing inspection at a dialysis facility in Puyallup WA. This is nearly 25,000sf of slab with over 1000′ of connecting 4″ and 2“ pvc drain pipes. Can you hear the theme music to Mission Impossible playing in the background yet?

This is a job I worked on last year however thought it was noteworthy enough to share again. I initially recommended that all the pipes be camera inspected. The contractor called afterwards with news that the camera wasn’t able to find the leak. I found myself in an all to familiar mind set by thinking as if I was this contractor. That familiar mind set is usually the same as what my customer is thinking at that moment, “someone has got to find this leak!”.

After some thought, the contractor and I decided to apply sonic leak detection equipment to this task. These are the same tools and methods as applied to a pressurized water pipe leak beneath a slab foundation.

Once everything was set up, this leak was surprisingly located quickly and without error. After the leak was repaired it was discovered that the system still would not pass inspection. There was obviously another leak that needed to be located. After locating TWO additional leaks the system finally passed inspection!

Generally speaking, not every leak issue is the same. Underground water pipe leaks can have a myriad of variables ranging soil conditions, pipe depths to the surfaces they are installed beneath. Leaks can become exceptionally difficult to pin point when there are more than one on the same system. Locating the leaks on this newly installed sewer system required several return appointments. In hind sight I believe this approach can only be applied on new construction because of accessibility and likely couldn’t be applied to existing systems without the same accessibility.

I learned a lot by doing this work and believe I can help other new construction projects where needed. The contractor told me that all three leaks were caused by rebar punctures during the installation of the concrete slab floor. It was a pleasure to help this contractor while applying similar tools used to find pressurized water pipe leaks beneath slab on grade foundations.

Michael Fend – Simply Leak Detection LLC

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Photo of the building exterior showing about two thirds of the buildings overall size.
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First Leak area marked on the building slab floor
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Building interior photo showing a large portion of the slab floor and the numerous stations with water and drain pipes installed.