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Feasibility of Locating Leakages in Sewage Pressure Pipes Using the Distributed Temperature Sensing Technology

Apperl, Benjamin, Pressl, Alexander, Schulz, Karsten
Water, air, and soil pollution 2017 v.228 no.2 pp. 82
cost effectiveness, extrusion, fiber optics, lakes, oils, pipes, sewage, temperature profiles, waste disposal, wastewater, Austria
The cost effective maintenance of underwater pressure pipes for sewage disposal in Austria requires the detection and localization of leakages. Extrusion of wastewater in lakes can heavily influence the water and bathing quality of surrounding waters. The Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) technology is a widely used technique for oil and gas pipeline leakage detection. While in pipeline leakage detection, fiber optic cables are installed permanently at the outside or within the protective sheathing of the pipe; this paper aims at testing the feasibility of detecting leakages with temporary introduced fiber optic cable inside the pipe. The detection and localization were tested in a laboratory experiment. The intrusion of water from leakages into the pipe, producing a local temperature drop, served as indicator for leakages. Measurements were taken under varying measurement conditions, including the number of leakages as well as the positioning of the fiber optic cable. Experiments showed that leakages could be detected accurately with the proposed methodology, when measuring resolution, temperature gradient and measurement time were properly selected. Despite the successful application of DTS for leakage detection in this lab environment, challenges in real system applications may arise from temperature gradients within the pipe system over longer distances and the placement of the cable into the real pipe system.