Sahara® Leak Detection

The Sahara® platform is a tethered tool that can accurately identify leaks and air pockets in water and wastewater pipelines. It is capable of locating very small leaks typically within 1.5 feet (0.5 meters) of their actual location. The tool also features inline video that allows operators to observe internal pipe conditions.

Pic01   sahara

The Sahara® Pipeline Inspection System is one of the most accurate tools available for detecting leaks, pockets of trapped gas, and structural defects in complex networks of large diameter water and wastewater mains.

The Sahara platform has an extensive history and was the first tool designed for live inspection of large diameter water mains. With over 5,000 leaks found in over 3,500 miles (5,600 km) of inspections, Pure sets a higher standard in leak detection for large diameter pipelines. Sahara® is a critical component of condition assessment and water loss management programs for utilities around the world.

How it works


The Sahara system is inserted into a live pipeline through a clear bore tapping with a minimum diameter of 1-7/8 inches. The insertion assembly is attached to a 2-inch full port valve with a 2-inch female NPT connection. The sensor is propelled by the flow of water using a drag chute that carries the tethered sensor head through the pipeline for distances up to 6,000 feet per insertion as the data cable is unreeled from the cable drum. Common entry points include existing air valves or gauging points (flow/meter taps).

Tracking System

Tracking the position of the Sahara sensor in the pipeline is critical for locating acoustic anomalies such as leaks and gas pockets. To track the position of the Sahara sensor as it traverses the pipeline, a technician follows the sensor head aboveground, as long as it is safely feasible, with a precision locator system known as Sahara Locator. The Sahara Locator is accurate to within +/- 18 inches (0.5 meters), through ground cover of up to 33 feet (10 meters).

Locating Leaks and Gas Pockets

The acoustic signal processor equipment and software provides the primary operator the ability to monitor and analyze the data collected from the Sahara sensor in real time. This allows for near real-time reporting of acoustic anomalies detected in the pressurized pipeline. The acoustic signal processor software also converts the audio signal into visual form, displaying the signal amplitude, signal frequencies, head position, and velocity, allowing the operator to distinguish pipeline features, isolate acoustic anomaly locations, estimate leak magnitude qualitatively, and provide the limits of pockets of trapped gas. The precise location of an acoustic anomaly is identified by positioning the sensor within the pipe and simultaneously positioning the Sahara Locator directly above the sensor head, allowing for above-ground location. The location of an acoustic anomaly can also be referenced using the Sahara encoder equipment to provide an accurate measurement of events from the point of insertion, or from the nearest pipeline appurtenance, such as an elbow or known feature.

Revised   sahara diagram

Inspection Benefits

  • No disruption to regular pipeline service
  • Tethered control ensures full control
  • Sub-meter accuracy for leak locations above ground, under ideal conditions
  • Proven sensitivity to leaks as small as 0.05 gal/min
  • Inline video allows for visual inspection of live pipeline conditions
  • Determine the position of the leak along the pipeline (pipe joint or barrel)
  • Use existing 2 inch (50 millimeter) taps or larger
  • Accurate surface tracking to map your pipeline
  • Easy to use in mains 12 inches (250 mm) and larger (down to 6 inches with special considerations)
  • Works in pipelines of all materials
  • Handles pressures up to 200 PSI (14 Bar)
Dsc 3019

Sahara Video

Built on the proven Sahara® platform, the Sahara® Video CCTV system gives utilities the ability to see inside water pipelines without costly shutdown or dewatering.

How Sahara® Video Works

Sahara® Video is easily inserted into a live pipeline through a standard 2 inch or larger tap. Tethered to the surface, the Sahara® CCTV camera is gently pulled by the flow of the water transmitting real-time video data from inside the pipeline. With the ability to travel up to 6,000 feet, Sahara® Video can be used for a number of applications including:

  • Locating lost line valves
  • Investigating gas/liquid slug flow and trapped gas pockets
  • Locating debris and partial blockages
  • Searching for illegal connections
  • Locating and assessing tuberculation of all types
  • Visually inspecting pipe walls and liners
  • Examining the condition of suspect valves
  • Screening for obstacles or laterals before using a free-swimming inspection tool
  • Assessing internal corrosion on metallic pipes
  • Inspecting pipes near a known leak to help plan repairs


Spot gis mapping

Sahara GIS and Mapping Services

The Sahara® system, when coupled with a high-accuracy Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), can be utilized to gather GPS data points with sub meter accuracy to identify the location of the water main from ground level.


Spot precommission

Sahara Commissioning New Pipelines

The leaks that cause pre-commissioned water mains to fail a hydrostatic pressure test are typically very small, making these a challenge to locate using conventional techniques. The Sahara® leak detection system can pinpoint the location of leaks without having to divide the pipeline into short sections for pressure testing.


Spot dallas

Dallas Water Utilities Sahara Program