These are the headlines that you never want to see attached to your company’s name, but every day, somewhere in the world, an executive is confronted with similar news and begins to plan what he will be saying to the press. It is a fact of business life: If your company produces, stores, transports or consumes hazardous liquids, you have to assume that sooner or later there will be an “inadvertent release to the environment”. In other words there will be a leak or spill. Whether the leak is a minor event for the on-site response team or a major news story depends largely on what you do months or years in advance. The key to minimizing the spill (and to protecting your reputation and bank account) is to detect the problem while it is still small and easy to manage.
TraceTek leak detection cables from Tyco Thermal Controls should be an important part of your risk mitigation planning. Here is why: TraceTek offers several special purpose environmental leak detection cables: One type of cable detects fuels like diesel, Jet-A, or gasoline. Another version of the cable can detect sulphuric or nitric acid, and a third version can detect and locate MEK, acetone, TCE, IPA and similar organic solvents.
The concept is quite simple: Install the cable close to the potential source of leaks and spills, and then monitor the cable with a low power, round-the-clock instrumentation system. Sensor cables can be placed beneath tanks or in the interstitial space of double wall pipe systems. Slotted PVC conduit can be used to install the sensor cable along side of buried pipelines or beneath buried valves. The objective is to detect the leak while the spill is still very small. An indoor system, monitoring pipes in a trench or beneath an indoor holding tank will detect a spill of less than 1 litre. A buried outdoor system, monitoring a fuel pipeline for instance, will typically detect AND locate the leak with less than 1 cubic metre of contaminated soil.
Systems from a few metres to over 20 km have been installed and a 40 km jet fuel pipeline is in the advanced engineering stages. Monitoring is accomplished by low power Sensor Interface Modules that energize the cable, and then continuously provide digital data regarding sensor status and any leak detections. The location of a spill can be reported to an accuracy of about +/- 1 metre. Various telemetry options allow the modules to be centrally monitored from a dedicated alarm panel. For very small installations it is even possible to connect a solar powered flashing light for low cost and reliable leak detection.
The TraceTek leak detection system is like an insurance policy. For a small investment now, you may be saving your company a major clean-up expense later. And protecting your company from the kind of publicity no one wants.