Location and leak Detection

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Reduces and recovers lost water

Problem

Operators at Mooresville (N.C.) Public Services Department had a 10 percent nonmetered water rate in their 240 miles of distribution mains. The leaks damaged roads and caused heavy traffic congestion during emergency open-trench repairs. Legislation requiring water conservation and the arrival of new industry motivated the city to upgrade its distribution maintenance program.

 

Solution

Public Services director John Vest purchased Permalog loggers, L-Mic and X-Mic microphones, an AC digital correlator, and a Patroller II system from Carolina Meter and Supply, a Hampstead-based distributor for Fluid Conservation Systems. “The equipment is compatible with our recordkeeping system and simple enough for our team to use,” says Vest. “They feel confident that they are collecting accurate results.”

The loggers store 29 days of level and spread history, present noise trends in graph format, and have changeable alarm threshold settings. The L-Mic combines an electronic listening stick and a ground microphone to perform general leak sounding operations. The X-Mic electronic ground microphone amplifies the noise of escaping water. An analogue-style moving meter gives noise-level trends, while the digital noise-level system pinpoints leak locations.

The digital radio in the correlator allows two-way communication with the base to display and control outstation status. The PDA-based Bluetooth Patroller transmits data via radio to moving vehicles for remote multiple logger programming and downloads.

 

Result

Within six months of installation, the city located and repaired 24 major leaks, saving $80,000 annually. “The equipment enhanced our planning, allowing us to schedule maintenance with public notification to avoid traffic congestion,” said field operations supervisor W.D. Bumgarner. 800/531-5465; www.fluidconservation.com.

 

Free-swimming inspection system

Problem

The Grand Forks (N.D.) Wastewater Collection Utility wanted to assess its force mains without internal inspections and avoid replacing the entire system with estimated costs of up to $5 million.

 

Solution

The utility chose the SmartBall untethered acoustic leak and gas pocket detection system from Pure Technologies. Using two insertion and extraction points, operators launched the sensor-filled aluminum core surrounded by a protective foam shell into the pipeline, where the flow propelled it until caught in a net downstream. Various sensors pinpointed leaks as small as 0.10 gpm. An accelerometer determined leak locations, as did acoustic pulses emitted by the ball. Receivers were attached to pipe appurtenances. The collected data was graphically represented in a position versus time profile.

The ball travels up to 15 hours before reaching memory capacity and depleting its rechargeable battery. Once it is retrieved, the data is analyzed for acoustic anomalies. The technology can be used for most pipe materials including steel, ductile iron, and PVC.

 

Result

After the device identified acoustic anomalies as possible hydrogen sulfide pockets, areas of corrosion were validated with an inspection camera. The utility set repair priorities, reducing the total inspection and replacement costs to an estimated $1.5 million. 800/537-2806; www.puretechltd.com.



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