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Frequently Asked Questions - Leak Detection
  • What is the difference between a true leak sound locator and a simple amplified listening device?
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    • A true leak sound locator not only has a powerful sound amplifier, but it is designed to focus the sound response to "hear" only leak sounds. This is accomplished by limiting the sound frequency bandwidth to those frequencies that are typical of leak noises. Higher end models will have selectable filters to better focus on a particular leak sound. If you have non-metallic pipe, it is best to get a leak locator with selectable filters so you can focus on the very low frequencies at which leaks in plastic and AC pipe resonate.
  • I’m considering purchasing a sewer camera. Which is better, black & white or color?
    View answer
    • This depends on what you are using the camera to find. If looking for a hairline crack in clay tile, then color would be the best choice. But if you are checking to see why a line is blocked, then black & white would be able to do the job. Black & white provides a crisper picture and lower lux (the amount of light required to obtain a picture) rating. However, color is best used for details, and identification when you need to know what exactly is in the pipe. For example, is the blockage grease, mud, or something else? Since technology has improved over the last couple of years, the price of color models has decreased dramatically. With color being more competitively priced, the majority of cameras now sold are color.
  • Should we purchase a lateral or mainline camera system?
    View answer
    • Lateral cameras are for pipe sizes 2-1/2” through 12”. These cameras are small enough to negotiate the 90° bends. This camera is limited to 12” pipe because of the amount of light the unit provides. These camera systems use fiberglass push cable or rods. Most systems allow up to 300’ of cable. This cable is pushed through the pipe manually and is very difficult to push over 300’
      Mainline cameras are used in lines 6”; or larger. These camera systems are much larger than the lateral cameras. The light source(s) are much brighter, allowing the camera to view the larger diameter pipes. These cameras are skid or tractor styles. Skid cameras usually include 500’ to 1000’ of coaxial cable. The camera is usually propelled through the pipe with the use of a sewer jetter. Alternatively, the camera can be pulled using a winch and cable. Tractor cameras are remote-controlled, motorized units. These cameras are much more expensive but require little physical effort to operate.
  • What is a pan & tilt camera?
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    • Pan & Tilt cameras are used to televise 6" and larger sewer lines. The pan (left and right rotation) and tilt (up and down rotation) movements of the camera head provide over 90% spherical viewing with 360° continuous rotation and 300° pan for close-up inspections.
  • How do PlantPRO and Bright Dyes water tracing products work?
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    • PlantPRO and Bright Dyes water tracing products act as a coloring label on each drop of water. As that water or liquid travels, it can be identified at each point on its travel, until it reaches extreme dilution. Fluorescent dye tracers are dyes that selectively absorb light in the visible range of the spectrum. They are fluorescent because, upon absorbing light, they instantly emit light at a longer wavelength than the light absorbed. This emitted (fluorescent) light goes out in all directions. Most common fluorescent tracers are compounds that absorb green light and emit red fluorescent light.
  • What does PPM mean when referring to tracing dyes?
    View answer
    • PPM means parts per million. 1 PPM means the color of the product is visible in clear water at one part dye tracing product to a million parts water. 1 PPM in 10,000 gallons of water requires approximately 1 pint of dye tracing liquid concentrate. This is generally referred to as a strong visual concentration level.
  • Which dye is best - tablets, liquids, powders or wax?
    View answer
    • For small amounts of water, tablets are clean and easy to use…no measuring is required. They may be dropped or flushed directly into a drain, sewer, septic system, etc., where they dissolve in about 3-5 minutes. Or, they may be dissolved in a small amount of water first. For larger bodies of water, powder or liquid may be more suitable for your needs. In the situation of a long-term flow study, a wax product such as cakes, cones, or donuts would be used.
  • How can I remove the dye?
    View answer
    • The color of all dyes will disappear if the solution is mixed with chlorine. Add approximately 4 grams of 12% bleach for every gram of product in the solution. Adding water will also dilute dye concentration and reduce coloration, or even eliminate color all together depending on volume of water added.
  • What color of dye should I use?
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    • What color of dye you use will depend on the color and/or type of water. Any color can be used in clear water. If the water were yellow, Fluorescent Red would be best, especially if visual methods are used to estimate the dye concentration. If the water were a murky brown in color, Fluorescent Yellow/Green would be appropriate. Although the Standard Blue dye may be used in tracing situations, it is not fluorescent and is limited to visual methods and for cosmetic purposes.
  • Which dye product should I use?
    View answer
    • It depends on the usage and the volume of water. When metering is required, use liquid dye for any volume of water where a water-based solution needs to be labeled for detection with a black light or fluorometric equipment. When metering is not required, the following products are recommended:
      Volume in Gal. Products Sample Applications
      0 - 20,000 tablets
      septic system analysis, leak detection, plumbing sewer tracing, storm & sewer drains
      20,000 -
      flow mapping and tracing, flow time studies, storm & sewer drains
      50,000+ wax
      leak detection, flow studies, pollution studies, lakes or liquid rivers and ponds
  • How much water will the dye color?
    View answer
    • There are a lot of different factors that may affect how much dye you will need. Below are some rough guidelines.
      Tablets - As a general rule, 1 tablet will provide a strong visual in 60 gallons of water. For example, a 1,200-gallon septic system would require between 15-20 tablets for a strong visual inspection.
      Liquid - As a general rule, 1-pint will provide a strong visual in 10,000 gallons of water. For example, a collection line having 10,000 gallons of flow would require 1 pint of liquid for a strong visual inspection.
      Powder - As a general rule, 1-pound of powder will provide a strong visual in 120,000 gallons of water. For example, a cooling tower holding 240,000 gallons of water would require 2 pounds of powder for a strong visual.
  • Are the water tracing products offered in USABlueBook safe for the environment?
    View answer
    • PlantPRO and Bright Dyes water tracing products are EPA approved and they are certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) to the ANSI/NSF Standard 60 for use in potable water at recommended levels. They are biodegradable and safe for the environment. Fluorescent dyes are relatively unreactive, and in most cases do not interact with the “system”.
  • What should be done if someone ingests a tablet? Are they toxic or hazardous?
    View answer
    • PlantPRO and Bright Dyes water tracing products are safe and non-toxic and will not adversely affect ones health. In case of accidental ingestion, drink several large glasses of water. The individual’s perspiration and urine will be tinted the color of the tablet for a short period of time.
  • Can I filter out background noise while trying to locate a leak?
    View answer
    • Depending on the model of leak detector that you purchase(d) the higher end units do have a feature called a “Notch Filter” which does allow you to eliminate specific frequencies in order to more accurately listen to a leak vs. a passing car.
  • What is the difference between the smoke fluid and the smoke candles?
    View answer
    • With liquid smoke, there are several advantages over the candles. It has no shelf life for one; it doesn‘t have any special storage requirements and its controllable while in use. The only advantage to the candles is that they are less messy and don‘t require any special accessories or kits to use.
  • Can any of the dyes be used in a potable water application?
    View answer
    • Although they are non-toxic and non-hazardous, they are not recommended for use in potable water applications. The main reason for this is simply because it may migrate throughout the water system causing residents to become unnecessarily alarmed that their drinking water, washing machine water or showering water is red, blue, yellow/green… Yikes!!!