Applying advanced correlator technology to help reduce significant non-revenue water losses from distribution systems in south-east Asia. Plastic pipe materials made it challenging to accurately identify and locate leaks for repair.
- Superior acoustic-based leak detection technology for cities with small leak detection teams.
- The advanced LeakFinder-STTM correlator provides accurate leak resolution on all distribution main materials including PVC, HDPE and Asbestos Cement, and is proven in low water pressure environments.
- Rapid correlation and leak resolution.
- Simple user interface.
- Standardized user training.
The Malaysian State of Selangor, the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, faced significant challenges with non-revenue water (NRW). A high percentage of the water produced was not sold, with leakage estimated to make up a large proportion of this. Already dealing with water shortages caused by a changing climate and population growth, the government set aggressive targets to significantly reduce NRW levels.
Jalur Cahaya Sdn. Bhd. (JCSB), a leading environmental engineering company, was selected to help Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn. Bhd. (SYABAS), the water operator for the state, to reduce NRW across both distribution systems and transmission main networks.
SYABAS has a large and complicated pipe network to inspect for leaks, and JCSB field crews used a variety of correlators as well as listening sticks. This approach did locate leaks however, challenges were experienced particularly when inspecting plastic pipe materials and areas of low pressure – missing leaks and digging “dry holes”. Non-metallic pipes account for a high percentage of the water supply network in Selangor.
Based on previous experience with Echologics® technology, JCSB commissioned a field trial of the LeakFinder-STTM correlator technology due to its ability to accurately identify leaks on plastic pipe materials and in low-pressure environments. The initial field crews using the technology had immediate success with being able to locate leaks that were previously undetectable using other technology approaches. With limited training, field crews could easily use the windows-based interface and manage the connection of sensors to the water main. The trial enabled JCSB to identify leaks quicker and more efficiently; saving time, money, and water by enabling a rapid, accurately targeted response for repairs.
“Our technicians understood and adapted to the new technology very easily,” says Faisal Salleh, Senior Executive Non-Revenue Water Division for JCSB. “Training is however not just limited to technical details but also covers aspects of where and when to use the technology to get the best results. By working with the latest technologies for leak detection the company is showing initiative and so ensuring a safe and continuous water supply on a long-term basis.”
The LeakFinder-STTM is a non-invasive technology so there is never a disruption of service or need to excavate while surveying. Surface-mounted sensors are placed 100 m – 300 m apart, subject to material type, along the suspect pipeline on hydrants, valves, or directly attached to the pipe’s outer wall. The correlator analyzes the acoustic signature of the leak then calculates the data to accurately pinpoint the location. “As part of Mueller, we are able to put a lot of resources into developing technologies with a very advanced R&D team,” says Mark Nicol, Director of Sales & Operations, Asia Pacific for Echologics. “We understand the acoustics of pipe science and have developed technologies to detect leaks that were previously undetectable. This offers a significant advantage to non-revenue water contractors in terms of finding more leaks and optimizing field crew performance.”
From the initial field trial, JCSB was the first engineering company in Asia to deploy the next-generation leak detection capabilities of the LeakFinder-STTM correlator at a large scale. The company has now equipped 20 field crews with the advanced technology.
During a 3-month period, JCSB discovered a total of 109 distribution main leaks, 82 ferrule leaks, 288 service connection leaks, and 3 valve leaks. The pinpoint accuracy of the LeakFinder-STTM results in a smaller excavation footprint leading to less disruption and inconvenience to the local community.
The LeakFinder-STTM is now their preferred correlator due to its speed, accuracy, and non-invasive capability. JCSB has since purchased extra units for their local detection teams along with on-site training from Echologics field engineers.