Early detection of leaks and pond seepage by optical fibre technology

Implementation period

October 2022- April 2023

Field of work

Digital tecnhology

Adptative Management and Governance


ZINNAE (project coordinator) https://zinnae.org/

Canteras de Ejea https://zinnae.org/canteras-de-ejea/

EUPLA  http://eupla.unizar.es/

Ingeobras  https://ingeobras.com/

i+Porc  http://www.imasporc.com/


Project supported by the October 2021 call for AAEEII support from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, funded by the European Union – Next Generation EU (AEI-010500-2021b-64)


Slurry ponds represent an essential element in the livestock industry to guarantee the storage and isolation of the large quantities of slurry generated daily in a livestock farm. The DIGIT-BALSA project aims to install and test a state-of-the-art sensor system, based on optical fibre, for the monitoring and early detection of leaks in an environment similar to the real one, i.e. in a prototype with a geometry and morphology common to a slurry pond.


The main objective of the DIGIT-BALSA project is to avoid the environmental and structural impacts associated with slurry flow leaks in livestock farm ponds through the implementation of an early leak detection system based on innovative optical fibre technology. With this objective, the DIGIT-BALSA project contributes directly to the digital and environmental transition of the livestock sector and, in particular, to the pig industry, implementing state-of-the-art, low-cost and high-resolution sensors in a sector in which instrumentation is still absent or very little used. The use of this technology means early detection of leaks into the environment of highly polluting flows with direct environmental benefits associated with the good quality of the state of the receiving water bodies (surface and groundwater).


The main result of DIGIT-BALSA is the development of a system for the early detection of leaks in slurry ponds, based on optical fibre technologies, which allows obtaining diffuse and real-time measurements for the geolocation of the leak with an approximation range of 0.5 to 2 metres. In this way, the system will address the two main limitations of traditional monitoring technologies for this type of infrastructures, which provide timely and delayed measurements. In particular, the proposed monitoring system will make it possible to detect the geolocation of leaks, their instant of onset and their duration in order to limit the environmental and structural impacts associated with leaks on the slopes of the pond.