A small water district in Breckenridge, Colorado was experiencing notably high water loss from November of 2015 through April of 2016.
Normal usage for this particular water district was around 25,000 gallons per day, yet they were producing 90,000 gallons per day.
The apparent discrepancies in usage versus production led the utility to seek out the source(s) of the water loss. They contacted a consultant, Water Quality Control Professionals LLC (WQCP), to assist in the matter in order to lower their non-revenue water back to an acceptable level. To better gauge the source of the water loss and overall health of the distribution system, WQCP planned on conducting a leak detection survey as a means of locating water leakage within the system. However, depth and material of the water district’s main water lines made using traditional acoustic surveying methods more complex.
- Pipe depth: The system’s main lines were located 12 feet below ground, an extreme depth for noise to travel using acoustic sensors positioned closer to the surface. Moreover, digging up a leak at this depth is expensive. It would cost the water district $6000-$8,000, if they were to dig up a dry hole, or a pit void of a leak.
- Pipe material: The pipe material was PVC, which can prove difficult to hear leak noise due to poor noise travel along the PVC pipe.
WQCP surveyed half of the water district’s distribution system where significant water loss was expected and found a faint leak noise of particular interest, using an electronic listening stick.
The faint noise was found on a service connection that was attached to a 6 inch C900 PVC main. Now that they had located a leak noise, the next step was to pinpoint its exact location using a correlator.
As most correlators can often yield false or no results on PVC pipe, WQCP was sure to be thorough with their procedure and methodology. WQCP closed off the suspect area and deployed Primayer’s Enigma non-real time advanced correlation system. They used the Enigma to correlate on the 422 foot section of pipe which produced a leak peak, signifying a leak was present, by using the narrow band filtering in the Enigma software (70hz to 125hz). The peak was exactly 167 feet from the Enigma Pod 1. Despite the fact that an electrical transformer was in close proximity the Enigma system was still able to pinpoint this leak.
WQCP was confident in the Enigma’s performance, yet took extra precautions due to the risk of excavating a dry hole given the circumstances. In order to re-confirm the leak location, WQCP contacted Matchpoint for advice, and rented a Primayer PrimeTrace gas leak detection system.
The PrimeTrace system was an ideal tool for this project as the system doesn’t use acoustic noise to pinpoint leaks, but instead “sniffs” for gas, which is injected into the pipe and escapes through any leak.
A mix of hydrogen and nitrogen gases were injected at an upstream service connection and after a short 1.5 hours, the WQCP team walked the suspect area of pipeline with the “sniffer” probe. Once the probe was placed over the pinpointed area, the PrimeTrace went into a high gas alarm. They had found the leak. John Volk of WQCP commented, “The PrimeTrace was extremely easy to setup and use. The interface is very clean and intuitive.”
is a state-of-the-art digital correlation logging system for determining the location of leaks in buried water pipes. This system combines noise logging and noise correlation into one operation to provide efficiency.
is a gas detection system for locating leaks in all types of materials used for water pipes. Hydrogen detection is a proven method for use on long pipe lengths and PVC pipe, to locate even the smallest leaks.
This project was a great success, showcasing the capabilities of the Enigma correlating system and PrimeTrace software in difficult conditions.
The technologies’ accuracies and WQCP’s expertise eliminated “dry” holes, saving the water district between $6,000 and $9,000.
Moreover, the water district will reap the benefits of recovering water loss once the found leaks are repaired and should see substantial reduction in daily water production. Matchpoint is happy to have supplied WQCP with the equipment that helped the Breckenridge water district save water and money!