Detecting Leaks Electronically (Available only in Geo/Environmental Engineering Special Issue)

by Rita Robison, Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 1801 Alexander Bell Drive, Reston, VA.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1996, Vol. 66, Issue 11, Pg. 16A-16A

Document Type: Feature article


An innovative monitoring system originally developed to detect cyanide leaks at gold mines can now monitor the integrity of geosynthetic liners at municipal- and hazardous-waste landfills and other lined impoundments. The Electronic Leak Detection System (ELDS) hardware consists of electrode sensors installed in a retangular grid in the subgrade beneath a primary liner. Using proven geophysical technology, it can detect and reveal the exact location of a leak as small as 20 gal. ELDS uses electrical remote sensing to measure contrasting electrical properties of the subgrade below the primary liner, calculating changes against a baseline survey and subsequent measurements. The presence of a leak will alter the electrical properties of the soil, and further analysis of a postive reading will confirm the presence or absence of a leak and its size.

Subject Headings: Pipe leakage | Linings | Subgrades | Soil properties | Soil analysis | Water storage | Systems engineering

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