A dog’s nose is composed of turbinates. Turbinates are the spongy tissues along the long shelves of bone in the breathing passage of the nose. Part of what makes a detection dog great is the shape of their nose. A longer nose equates to a more complex network of turbinates.
You will see Belgian malinois, Dutch shepherds, and labradors commonly employed as pipeline leak detection dogs. Their build paired with their workability and drive make them great candidates as leak detection experts.
Information gathered through the turbinates of the nose are received at the olfactory bulb. A dog’s olfactory bulb is many times larger than a human’s, about 44 times more! This puts a dog at over 220 million scent receptors.
K9 Pipe Inspections leak detector dogs located two micro leaks in the Permian Basin. As an example, when you inhale the scent of a fresh baked pizza, you register a cocktail of odours melded into one unifying aroma you identify as ‘pizza’. When a dog inhales the same scent, they identify each individual ingredient down to the yeast used in the dough.
Applying this to pipeline leak detection- when a novel odour is injected into a line (buried or above ground), a properly trained pipeline leak detection dog will detect on one odour. Therefore, no matter what material has been in the pipe, the dog detector can identify the individual scent they have been trained to locate and pinpoint. A canine trained to detect on a novel odour verses hydrocarbons can decrease the margin of error. Properly trained pipeline leak detection dogs have been tested and proven to be accurate at a range between 96-99 percent.
In field trials conducted by ExxonMobil, pipeline leak detection dogs identified pinhole leaks in lines as deep as 12 feet in conditions including dense clay with essentially perfect accuracy. Minor leaks in valves were also identified by canine leak detectors.
For more information visit k9pipeinspections.com