A number of technologies were trialled to determine the most appropriate and cost effective uses, and as a result Sydney Water is using a combination of sensor systems suitable for both short range and long range scanning of leaks.
One of the successful systems tested is known as the Sahara Leak Detection System, produced by Pure Technologies, which is an in-pipe acoustic system particularly suited for pipes larger than 250 mm diameter.
The system functions via the use of a sensor tube (hydrophone and tracker sensor), which is inserted into the pipe during live conditions through a 50 mm tapping, with no shutdowns required.
Sydney Water’s Managing Director Kevin Young said that even though they are rated amongst the best in the world when it comes to leak management, Sydney Water is keen to improve the accuracy and effectiveness in the way it measures any loss of drinking water caused by leakage.Article continues below…
“This is why we researched and trialled several of the best methods and technologies available for leak detection in large mains,” Mr Young said.
“There are challenges and currently no reliable or effective method for locating leaks over long distances on large mains. Large pipes are typically laid at greater depth and have fewer access points to the mains. We currently detect leaks through the noise they make and noise doesn’t travel well over long distances.”
The mains selected for the trial were older mains with a higher probability of leakages.
Sydney Water’s existing Find and Fix program works very well for the 17,000 km of small drinking pipes linking customers to the mains supplies, for which sound devices are used for detecting leaks.