By: Pete Olson Sr., Wachs Water Services Outsourcing can be defined as "the strategic…
Every day, water utilities lose billions of gallons of water designated for public use. In many areas of the United States, the scarcity of water resources has increased water loss control awareness, and dramatically escalated the importance and costs associated with real water loss.
Traditional methods of leak detection employing the use of standard external leak detection tools such as electronic listening devices, correlators and ground microphones are effective on pipes 16 inches in diameter and smaller, with results being less accurate or reliable on large diameter pipes.
To successfully manage real water loss on all sizes of pipe a combined approach using both external and inline and leak detection should be employed.
External Leak Detection
External leak detection technologies include digital correlators, digital noise loggers, and ultra-sensitive sonic listening devices. External leak detection is challenged by a variety of factors, as the pipe wall is used as a transmission medium for the sound, as opposed to the water column. Therefore, selecting the most appropriate tool and methodology, is essential to overcoming restraints such as pipe diameter, pipe material, availability of access points, operational pressures and volume of the leak.
Acoustic Listening Devices
- Survey tool for initial system sweep and the localization of potential leak sounds
- Make direct contact with all access points.
Acoustic Noise Loggers
- Identifies zones of high leakage (hotspots) in a system
- Identification of problematic zones in the system
- Prioritize leak detection activities
- Assist in pinpointing the location of a potential leak sound identified during the initial survey phase
- Analyzes leak sounds and frequencies. Filtering functions differentiate between background noises and an actual leak sound.
Listen on the surface of the ground to verify the location of a potential leak indicated by a correlator and are used as a survey tool when pipeline appurtenances are unavailable.
Hydrophones can also be used in conjunction with a correlator. These are sensors inserted into a
pipeline appurtenance such as a fire hydrant or any available tap, and make contact with the water column. They offer a higher resolution solution for non-metallic pipe and pipes up to approximately 20″.
As communities around the globe are facing increasing water rates, it is important for utilities to take a proactive approach to reducing real water loss. This is especially true for utilities facing drought and inadequate supply. By managing your assets using Wachs Water Services’ leak detection toolbox, utilities can confidently reduce water loss and increase their return on investment, saving not only water, but money too.
Inline Leak Detection
Inline leak detection technologies can accurately detect and locate leaks on transmission mains of all materials and diameters – leaks which have a much higher consequence of failure and a big impact on water loss volumes. Inline leak detection technologies include:
Free-swimming inspection technology designed to operate in a live pipeline. A foam ball is equipped with an instrument-filled aluminum alloy core capable of detecting and locating very small leaks and gas pockets with very high accuracy.
Tethered leak detection technology that is capable of locating very small leaks typically within 1.5 feet (0.5 meters) of their actual location. The tool also features inline video that allows operators to observe internal pipe conditions. Click here to learn more about inline leak detection.