It's a difficult thing to be a Town Water Supervisor under the stress of investigating a possible water main leak. Small to mid-sized water companies can be devastated by a single, large main break that refuses to show itself or a handful of small leaks adding up to big problems. This often leads to an "all-hands-on-deck-find-it-and-fix-it" type of panic mode. So when a wet spot is found or a pool of standing water is discovered, it's all they can do to keep from firing up the back-hoe.
Often a client’s basis for believing they have a water leak is subjective and based upon environmental or physical cues (i.e. standing water along a pipe route or damp areas near a water main). While physical cues can be helpful, they are not, in and of themselves, necessarily true indicators of leakage.Listening for leak soundat sounding points, quantifying water loss and observing pressure issues are part of a foundational approach for leak location. These are just stepping stones toward more complex procedures but can prevent looking in the wrong direction and wasting time and money.
Determining for certain that leakage is the source of a system's unaccounted for water loss is vital. Often for a small system, it's obvious: people complaining about low pressure, pumps running all the time and a near empty water tower pretty much signal a major leak is at hand. However, for a larger system, a much more systematic approach is needed. What's the unaccounted for water percentage? Are the meters reading accurately? Is there any metering lag or overlap within the book-keeping of the meter readings? These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered.
When definite leak issues are determined, proper sounding of hydrants, valves, service shut-offs and blow-offs in a methodical, systematic way is more beneficial than going specifically on physical cues. Pressure readings, zoned usage patterns in combination with physical cues can give a Leak Technician a good place to start. A whole systematic approach is necessary and needs to be a standard practice for every water system.
We at Utility Survey Corp. practice a systematic approach to detect a water leak. This approach, when following through with leak noise correlation pinpointing of a leak, or leaks, achieves a high rate of success. Success that our clients expect and depend upon. We have trained technicians who know how important timely detection of a water leak can be.
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