Leak detection and repair (LDAR)

What is leak detection and repair?

Leak detection and repair (LDAR) is a process that maintenance teams use to identify and fix air, water, gas and other types of leaks in gas and oil pipelines, tanks, and other equipment. The purpose of LDAR is to prevent major accidents, wasted resources leading to higher costs, and underperforming assets. A LDAR program also helps organizations comply with health, safety, and environmental regulations.

What are some examples of a leak?

A leak is any unwanted escape of liquid, gas or energy from a pipe system. Leaks can have a negative impact on asset health and lead to operational waste in maintenance. They can also be potentially dangerous for the environment and people living near a production facility or pipeline (like in the case of a chemical leak). The health and safety implications of certain leaks makes it essential to repair leaks as soon as possible. Some examples of leaks include:

  • Water leaks: A water leak can come from any part of a plumbing system or from worn parts in manufacturing equipment—like pipes and hoses.
  • Gas leaks: Gas leaks are a common cause of fires due to their flammability. Gasses like carbon monoxide and methane can build up and go unnoticed.
  • Air leaks: Air leaks occur in manufacturing equipment when small holes appear in hoses or other parts of machinery.
  • Electricity leaks: Electricity leaks happen in instances where a wire is damaged in a piece of machinery and the flow of electricity to a component is decreased.
  • Other examples of leaks include: Oil and gas, chemicals, and radioactive/nuclear waste.

What are the benefits of LDAR?

Leak detection and repair improves maintenance operations by enabling teams to closely monitor, manage, and repair leaks. For example, there might be an air leak in a piece of equipment. If this piece of equipment has leak detection technology monitoring its performance, this system can notify a team so they can repair it immediately. This would eliminate the risk of costly repairs and further damage to the equipment. Regular preventive maintenance on equipment can also be part of a LDAR program. Technicians can inspect components for leaks at regular intervals and identify any problems before asset performance is reduced.

In addition to helping teams manage their asset health and improve operation waste, LDAR also improves:

  • Energy consumption
  • Water consumption
  • Facility maintenance
  • Employee productivity
  • Financial performance

What is an LDAR program?

An LDAR program involves a series of steps that you can follow to carry out your leak detection and repair procedures. LDAR programs are a way for companies to standardize leak detection and repair, make it easier to keep assets in good condition, prevent waste, reduce breakdowns, increase safety for facility workers and operators, and to comply with EPA regulations.

What are the steps of an LDAR program?

The first step is identifying leaks in your system. For example with a gas leak specifically, this can be done by using an infrared camera to detect thermal radiation from cold spots on the pipe or equipment (which means the presence of escaping gas).

The second step is mapping the location of all leaks that are detected. As in our example with step one, for a gas leak you can use 3D mapping technology (like light detection and ranging or LIDAR).

The third step is to prioritize leaks based on their proximity to high-pressure areas (like compressor stations), their potential impact on employee and public safety, and their economic cost. Once these details are identified, a leak detection tool pinpoints specific leak locations for the repair crews' attention.

The fourth step is to make sure your team follows up with regular inspections after repairs are made so that no more problems arise.

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How does a CMMS assist with LDAR?

  • A CMMS can help you track leaks and their repairs, including the costs associated with these actions. By keeping an ongoing history of all your facilities processes, you’ll be able to track where any potential problems may lie and what measures have been taken to correct them.
  • It keeps personnel informed about leak activity at all times. If your employees are working on a project related to faulty equipment or leaking pipes, they need up-to-date information so they know what they’re dealing with. A CMMS will allow everyone involved in fixing leaks access to project updates at any time from anywhere.
  • It helps you stay on track with your maintenance plan and LDAR program. Maintenance plans for LDAR are developed to ensure control measures are minimized or eliminated. A log often needs to be kept onsite and the EPA can request to see these logs at any time. A CMMS can help you track when maintenance occurred on a specific piece of machinery to ensure compliance. In the event of an environmental incident, the logs are used to demonstrate due diligence.


Not all leaks are the same, the best way to avoid high-cost repairs is by identifying and fixing them before it becomes an emergency situation. With an LDAR program in place, your team can quickly diagnose problems before they become a major issue for your facility or plant.

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