Tracing dyes are used to perform a wide range of tracing tests that are employed to gather information about a system of water flows. A colourful liquid (or a powder dissolved in a liquid) is dispersed into a water flow and then traced along its course.
The information gathered from these tests can tell you something as simple as the direction or speed of a water flow to something more complex, such as the location of leaks and illegal tributaries.
Plumbing, pipe and drain tracing
Tracing dyes are used by plumbers and drainage management companies to check for flow and continuity of pipes and drainage systems. Put simply, this means tracing dyes are dispersed into a water flow or system of pipes and then the area is observed for leaks, direction of flow, speed of flow etc.
A quantity of tracing dye may be poured into a system at its beginning and traced via the highlighted pipes to it end. Through this application you may also be able to detect leaks, defects and illegal connections.
Water tracing dyes are often used in the groundworks / building trades to detect defects, leaks and breakages in drainage pipes. This is the simplest, cheapest and most basic form of testing a system of pipes for damage.If you have a leaky pipe there will be a bright or fluorescent puddle forming in the location of the leak, giving an indication of where to dig.
Tracing tests are important to conduct because, for example: if you have a leak in a sewage or waste pipe you do not want that contaminating your drinking water supply or causing damp to damage your building. Locating leaky pipes can be difficult, especially if the pipes are hidden, so finding all leaks quickly and efficiently is a priority.
Natural water flow analysis
Tracing dyes are used in the analysis of natural water flows such as rivers, lakes, streams and seas to detect anything from direction of flow, speed, and illegal tributaries. They are also used in pollution studies whereby waste systems can be traced to see if they connect with surrounding flows or systems.
Tracing dyes have another application in the form of sea dye markers. Sea dye markers are a water safety aid and are stored on many boats, ships and watercraft.
Sea dye markers are a safety aid that releases a fluorescent dye into the water around you to increase your chances of being seen by a passing rescue boat or helicoptor.
Just for fun
In America they use fluorescent green tracing dyes to turn the river green in celebration of St. Patrick’s day!