Finding Undergroud Pipes

I am researching possible uses of TI Cameras. Can a Thermal Imaging Camera locate undergroup pipes such as septic systems?

Dear Ron:

Under the proper conditions, thermal imaging may be used to locate the pathways of buried piping as well as pipe leaks. In order to detect either, you will need to have a detectable temperature differential at the surface of the ground.

The ability to detect a buried piping and/or leaks will be influenced by several interdependent factors including, but not limited to: pipe operating temperature, pipe system construction, burial depth, soil type and moisture content, and ground cover. The amount of loss will also influence your ability to detect leaks.

Pipe pathways will generally appear as well-defined straight lines that correspond to the location of the subject pipe. Leaks from buried piping are generally characterized by amorphously shaped thermal anomalies that appear along the pathway of the subject piping system.

Be aware that infrared inspections of buried structures differ from other applications since you will not have direct line-of-sight to the structure of interest. Lastly, negative findings with an infrared camera do not necessarily equate to zero leaks or the absence of pipelines.

For more information on infrared inspections of buried pipelines:

For more information on training courses that cover this application:

Hope this is helpful.

Jim Seffrin
Infraspection Institute

IR Training from the IR Professionals