Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is now able to more efficiently identify potential leaks on its gas pipeline system by using a highly advanced leak detection device by Heath Consultants Inc. The leak detection device, known as Detecto Pak-Infrared (DP-IR), is designed to be selective in detecting methane and will not generate a false alarm on other hydrocarbon gases. The DP-IR helps PG&E to more quickly locate and assess potential leaks on its pipeline system, and helps determine priorities for repair or monitoring. In addition, crews are able to operate in the field under a variety of environmental conditions due to the rugged design of the devices.
Over the past year PG&E has streamlined its foot patrol leak survey capabilities by deploying more than 150 of the DP-IR devices across its service area.
"Incorporating the DP-IR into surveys of our natural gas system has made a positive impact on how we identify and repair potential leaks," said Steve Redding, director of gas maintenance and construction for PG&E. "Using this equipment allows our crews to inspect, and maintain, our gas pipeline system with even greater efficiency."
The DP-IR is a step up from traditional surveying equipment. It utilizes a simple light beam, eliminating the need for expensive gas cylinders and refill systems. It also has the capability to grade, or classify any leak that it detects.
"Now our gas leak surveyors can cover more ground, find leaks faster and help our crews fix problems quicker than in the past," said Chris Vana, information technology director, PG&E. "When technology can make a process simpler and easier to follow, our customers benefit."
While in operation, the DP-IR continuously monitors several parameters. Should any of these parameters go outside the operational limits, an alarm will sound and a fault/warning error message will be displayed to alert the survey technician, ensuring another level of operational safety.
"Heath Consultants Inc. is happy to help PG&E as they continue to improve operations, pipeline integrity and public safety within the state of California," said Paul D. Wehnert, senior vice president, Heath Consultants.