In the battle to conserve drinking water by reducing trunk main leakage, water utilities are increasingly turning their attention towards the use of accurate leak location systems. WRc has developed a system to pinpoint pipe leaks without interrupting the water supply.
WRc senior engineer Anthony Bond, who developed the new Sahara system, said: 'Until now finding the precise location of leaks on large diameter mains has been a virtually impossible task. Sahara is a powerful means of pinpointing leaks in any type, size or material of distribution pipe, trunk main or aqueduct.'
The system works by inserting the detector unit - basically a waterproof hydrophone - into the mains at a convenient point. This is usually via a Quadrina tapping, an air valve, or hydrant. As the detector is carried along the pipe by the flow of water, up to a range of 2km, it listens for the distinctive sound of water leaks. As leaks are detected their precise positions can be recorded. Unlike other detection units, said Bond, the Sahara unit can be inserted into a pressurised water main without disrupting supply to consumers.
He added: 'Most importantly, the system is unaffected by surface or pipeline noise and can be used whilst the main is in service. It can also discriminate between any number of leaks along the 2km section.'
WRc (01793) 865000