Natural gas and oil pipelines are a necessary part of the infrastructure of the United States, carrying fuel across the nation with as little risk and expense as possible. But no system is perfect, and very rarely leaks do occur without warning. If you have recently experienced a leak along a stretch of pipeline that you own, you may be wondering how the problem occurred and, more importantly, why you didn't catch it beforehand. In these situations, it is usually best to turn to the your pipeline metering system, which is designed to identify leaks and other issues before they can turn into an environmental disaster.
Determining the Cause of the Leak
In many cases, the source of the leak will be readily apparent, as the leaking gas should be noticeable. What caused that leak, however, is sometimes less clear. Deterioration inside the pipe, external trauma or faulty installation are some of the most common reasons behind a leak. All of these issues should have been detected by your pipeline metering system long beforehand, though, which should be your real cause for concern.
Checking and Calibrating Sensors
Pipeline meters analyze and regulate the flow of gas through the pipes, monitoring speed, pressure, debris content and other important statistics meant to ensure that the system is function within normal parameters. If those sensors are taking faulty readings, the rest of your system will only be able to output faulty conclusions. Speak with your pipeline metering repair company to have the sensors tested and calibrated to guarantee that they are accurately reading the conditions around them.
Repairing the Metering and Regulation System
Sometimes, your sensors will be working optimally, but the equipment designed to respond to them is broken, stuck or otherwise malfunctioning. For example, a valve designed to restrict the flow of gas may corrode or be clogged by debris, preventing it from regulating sudden surges in pressure. That pressure will then be turned outwards, potentially bursting through seams in the pipeline to form a leak. If faulty sensors do not seem to be the root cause of the leak, you may need to run a thorough examination of your interior components and filters to make sure they are still running smoothly.
Analyzing for Similar Issues Along the Pipeline
When you do discover the source of the leak, the next step is to determine whether or not the issue is localized or potentially widespread along the pipeline. If you find that the trouble is extensive, it may require an extensive overhaul of the pipeline to correct it before more leaks can damage the surrounding environment. As a pipeline owner, it is your responsibility to both maximize your profits and protect the land your pipeline runs through, so never assume that a leak is a singular event until you have concrete evidence proving it. For more info, contact a metering pipeline repair business in your area.