Monitoring Transmission Mains for Leaks

For the most critical water transmission mains, a greater frequency of information on leak status is often preferable to periodic "snapshot-in-time" methods — especially since leaks can occur anytime between inspections.

In contrast with a periodic leak survey approach, permanent monitoring offers the unique advantage of being able to detect a leak early, and steadily monitor its progression to determine the urgency of repair. Immediate leak status information can help municipalities prevent catastrophic failures, and the capability to repeatedly identify and track the leak progression also reduces "false-positive" leak signals that can occur during spot inspections.

The EchoShore®-TX platform can actively monitor pipelines over short or long distances, is compatible with any pipe material, and is non-intrusively deployable, with no disruption to water operations. The core technology consists of "nodes" incorporating a proprietary ultra-sensitive hydrophone, a microprocessor-based data processor for collecting and analyzing information, a battery power source, and a wireless communications transceiver and antenna unit. The self-contained nodes are secured to the chamber wall and the hydrophone is connected to a new or existing access port, such as an air release valve.

A permanent leak detection platform enables operators to detect leaks almost immediately after they occur, and monitor the progressing severity of those leaks so operators can appropriately plan, budget, and schedule pipe maintenance instead of being forced to respond immediately to avoid a potential catastrophic failure.

This approach is a good example of how secured cellular networks combined with acoustic node technology reduce the cost of deployment and monitoring for a utility. Echologics® pioneered correlation technology for large diameter water mains, and our new monitoring platform is based on the same technology that has earned a very high success rate after correlating hundreds of leaks on pipes as large as 108 inches in diameter — huge pipe.

Posted By: Mike Stadnyckyj