The Situation

In the Spring of 2018, Matchpoint was contracted by the City of Arlington to provide UAV-Based Leak Detection after onsite leaks proved to be evasive and difficult to locate using traditional leak detection methods.

At that point, Arlington enlisted Matchpoint’s UAV services to locate the leak in a less traditional, but innovative new way – using the UAV to analyze RGB and thermal imagery.

Note: Ground Crews deploying traditional Leak Detection tools and technologies were present at Arlington Lakes Golf Course to confirm results.

“The thermal UAV service was ideal for locating a leak that was deemed undiscoverable. The crew was knowledgeable, very thorough, and very easy to work with. The Matchpoint UAV technology is awesome.”

Ric Owens

Water Conservation Specialist, City of Arlington

The Conclusion

Upon analysis of the UAV-based thermal images, Matchpoint was able to confirm two leaks: one leak was occurring near the surface on a valve whose location was unknown, and another leak was discovered along the length of the pipe emitting from a crack buried roughly 10-15 feet.

Prior to this survey, both of the leaks’ locations were deemed undiscoverable due to a lack of fittings in the vicinity, as well as the low acoustic conductivity of the 16-inch concrete pipe (Figure 1A and 1B).

Figure 1A & 1B: Depict the two leaks occurring at the suspected location identified by the Thermal Analysis and Vegetation Analysis. Figure 1A depicts the leak occurring 20 feet below the surface on a 16 inch concrete pipe. Figure 2B depicts the leak location and depth.

The Methodology

Vegetation, Thermal, and Acoustic Leak Detection Surveys were conducted in search of the suspected leak occurring at the Lake Arlington Golf Course.

All leak detection methodologies conducted yielded positive results for the presence of an on-site leak.

Vegetation Analysis was constructed by combining red, green, and blue bands of light. Vegetation Analysis indicated the amount of green contained within an image and can be used to assess for healthy vegetation. Using the vegetation to highlight areas of interest, and filtering out trees, Matchpoint was able to delineate four areas of interest.

Matchpoint then reduced the areas of interest down to a single one by observing common vegetation patterns. Thermal Analysis was conducted using tree filters and color ramps in conjunction with points of interest generated by the Vegetation Analysis. To observe for thermal areas of interest down to a single one by observing common vegetation patterns. Thermal Analysis was conducted using tree filters and color ramps in conjunction with points of interest generated by the Vegetation Analysis. To observe for thermal temperature variation, Matchpoint used color ramps to identify thermal evidence of an active leak on-site. Leak thermal signatures appear in the data set as bullseye features with temperature changes moving away from the leak location (Figure 2).

Figure 2: This figure depicts the thermal signatures of the area classified by 1-degree Celsius difference in temperature with the top VARI index areas overlain in blue. The thermal extract A depicts an area of interest as denoted by the concentric circles emphasizing temperature variance via dotted circles. Thermal extract B represents the bullseye pattern consistent with leakage patterns.

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