Technology Demo Pinpoints Water Leak for Virginia Utility

Exercise shows value of smart city tools

Fluid Conservation Systems (FCS) DXmic and TriCorr Touch Pro combine to find 15 gpm leak

When the leak detection experts at 540 Technologies™ consult with a prospective customer, a live demonstration can show how smart city solutions such as ground microphones, data loggers and data correlators identify leaks in underground water systems and pinpoint the location of those leaks within a few inches.

Lindsey Godwin, 540 Technologies Technical Sales Consultant for the company's Southeast Region, recently helped a customer who was already well-versed in leak detection convince his manager that investing in smart technologies would benefit the utility's bottom line.

"Luther had been wanting this mic for a couple of months, but his boss had been apprehensive about the purchase," said Godwin. "I had already done a DXmic demo for the customer, but those making budget decisions were looking for a little bit more assurance. We decided to meet up and search for a leak the utility suspected existed in a particular neighborhood."

With a DXmic and TriCorr Touch Pro correlator in hand, the duo went "hydrant hopping" to listen along some of the utility's older, steel service lines, which were more likely to be the source of the leak versus newer, PVC piping. On the very last service line they tested, the mic detected some noise, and the team decided to divide and conquer.

While Godwin worked to correlate the leak by placing the TriCorr Touch Pro on above-ground access points (in this case, water meter shut off valves) along the service line, the customer moved the ground mic away from the service line toward the water main to ensure the leak wasn't further down the line.

"A service box that we opened had water in it," said Godwin. "The water tested positive for chlorine, but there was only a tiny amount of water in that service pit. We could have just assumed that the meter itself was leaking."

But, Godwin says, she believed the leak was much larger, and she set out to prove it. Calculations using the correlator's findings pinpointed a spot 20 feet away from the service line, along the main itself.

"We used that spot to take out the ground microphone again and listened on the pavement for the loudest noise where the correlator put us," said Godwin. "The DXmic put us a few feet away from the correlator point. They sent someone out to dig, and we were right on the money with using the mic and TriCorr together.

"Luther was surprised to find that the tiny amount of water getting into the service pit was actually being caused by a 15-gallon-per-minute leak," said Godwin.

With such a significant finding, the customer's manager was convinced of the value that a DXmic will bring to the utility in helping staff find additional leaks and reduce non-revenue water loss.

540 Technologies stands ready help the utility with additional smart city tools as well as the expertise and training to use them.

"Not only do we offer water-loss management tools, but we also teach customers how to use those tools properly and how to properly implement them," says Godwin. "Rather than just selling them a piece of equipment and leaving, we can help them build an entire water-loss management system."

If your utility, municipality or organization would like to know more about 540 Technologies and the smart city solutions that can help you find leaks and manage water loss, call us at 570-372-8857, or contact us through our online form.

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