Philly gets proactive with water system initiatives

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A few city blocks in the Old City region of Philadelphia are closed after a 36-inch water main burst, spilling six million gallons of water into the streets. The Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) was initially called to the scene to check for the source of a slow leak. When the line in question was uncovered, the pipe erupted.

The city, one of the oldest cities in the country, has taken a proactive approach to monitoring its infrastructure, so situations like the Old City geyser can be prevented or at least minimized. Managing its assets is at the center of green initiatives and grey infrastructure projects for the water department. Water system plans also include replacing eight miles of sewer mains each year and relining other sewer infrastructure as necessary. As a supplier of treated water to city residents and suburban communities, PWD needs a well-organized leak detection plan.

Crew members are using Sahara, a leak detection technology service by Pure Technologies, to improve efficiency and minimize the volume of unbilled water. Collecting and managing leak detection data is one way the city is monitoring its water loss control program. PWD is also compiling old service records and meticulously adding new records to supplement the asset management database.

Check out the complete article on Philadelphia’s water system plans in the November issue of Municipal Sewer & Water magazine and next week in the current e-zine on


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