A presentation/demonstration of some of the latest underground pipe locating equipment was conducted on August 13, 2003 at the Arvin-Edison Water Storage District. All the techniques shown were non-destructive pipe locating procedures that provide approximations to the depth and location of underground-buried pipe.

3 types of technology were shown at the demonstration:

  1. Acoustic pipe locators
  2. Leak detectors
  3. Ground penetrating radar

Each form of technology has its own merits and advantages. Acoustic technology is effective in locating single, small diameter pipes with pressurized flow located within about 500-ft of the sound (sonde) units. Leak detection technology is more accurate in locating leaks and pipelines than acoustic technology. Leak detectors can also locate pipes at deeper depths than can acoustic detectors, but require water flowing through the pipe during instrument operation and are also more costly. Ground penetrating radar is highly accurate in locating and approximating the depths of buried objects; this radar technology is also faster and requires less skill to operate and interpret readings than the other types of pipe location. However, the effectiveness is dependent on soil types, depth of pipes, and soil salinity. It is crucial to remember, though, that underground pipe locating technology is only a tool for finding approximate locations and depths of buried pipes, not exact positions. For optimum pipe location, the site conditions must first be evaluated to determine the proper underground pipe locating instrument.


Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering

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URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/bae_fac/133