The EPA and other federal agencies are looking into the use of a gas leak detection device to help stop the spread of methane leaks from natural gas drilling sites.
The device is called the CHLE, which stands for chemical leach detector, and it detects the presence of methane gas when the water level rises.
A new study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the University in Texas, released on Thursday, suggests the device could also be useful in detecting pool leaks.
The researchers looked at the amount of methane released from natural-gas drilling sites in Utah, Wyoming and Pennsylvania.
They found the gas leaks out to as high as 12.5 times the EPA’s safety limit for the level of methane, or 5.5 to 7.5 pounds per square inch, or psia, in the water.
That’s about the same amount of gas that would be released by a typical leak from a home gas-powered washing machine, according to the study.
The gas leak alarm, however, can only be activated for a few seconds and doesn’t stop the flow of water from the pool, the researchers said.
Instead, they suggested a “leak-reduction strategy” could be used to detect gas leaks.
They added the device has a built-in water sensor and sensors to detect leaks from all sorts of sources, including pools and plumbing fixtures.
The EPA is testing a device that it says could detect leaks up to 8 feet deep.