Tanknology Vacuum Detection of Underground Storage Leaks
The vacuum leak detection system patented by Ed Adams hinges on the scientific maxim that
nature abhors a vacuum. Adams leak detection system creates an artificial vacuum inside gasoline and chemical
storage tanks, and then uses sensitive monitoring equipment to detect the noise air bubbles make as they are
drawn into the tank.
The vacuum leak detection system helps pinpoint the small cracks and other holes created in
the thousands of gasoline and chemical storage tanks scattered across North America. Gasoline or chemical leaks
from these tanks can have a significant impact on water quality, nearby property values and hamper redevelopment
plans of gas stations if environmental remediation is needed.
The vacuum leak detection system devised by Adams reversed the process that had been used to
detect underground storage tank leaks. Under the old system, tanks were pressurized by filling them to the brim,
which forced the fluid inside through the leaks into the surrounding soil, which created secondary pollution
The system is mobile, mounted in customized trucks which can travel around the country to
active and abandoned underground gasoline and chemical storage tanks.
The vacuum detection system works by sealing off all the tank outlets, inserting a vacuum
pump into the vent, along with a probe that includes a hydrophone. The vacuum pump is activated, and a partial
vacuum is created.
Leaks can be detected below and above the fluid level in the tank, and analysis of the sounds
created by the air rushing in can help pinpoint the source of the leak.
Leaks in the air space above the fluid create a distinct hissing sound, while the bubbles made
by air rushing through gasoline or chemicals create different sounds based on their size. Large bubbles, which
indicate a large leak, create lower frequency noises. The vacuum leak detection technology also uses a sensor
to detect leaks from an underground water table into a gasoline storage tank.
All of the sensitive monitoring and detection equipment feeds signals to computers mounted
inside customized trucks which are mobile laboratories. Though Adams invention became mobile in the early 1980s,
the fleet of vacuum leak detection trucks were distributed across North America after 1989, when new investors
helped boost Tanknology, the company Adams formed to market the system.
Tanknology in Canada and the United States have a wide range of corporate clients including
petrochemical giants Amoco, Exxon/Mobil and Petro-Canada; convenience stores like 7-Eleven, and Macs; car rental
agencies like Budget Rent-a-Car and Hertz; and large government clients like the City of Calgary, Transport Canada and the Department of National Defence.
VACUTECT Storage Tank Testing System
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this feature video segment courtesy of Tankology
Canada Inc. Watch
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