Mobile Leak Finder Technology Tested On Transmission Main In New Orleans
Marc Bracken, General Manager of Echologics Engineering, discusses Echologics’ permanent leak detection and monitoring solution for large transmission mains
The following is an excerpt from a Q&A with Water Online Radio. Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.
Water Online Radio: I understand that you have some proprietary condition assessment technology being introduced right now. Tell us about it?
Marc: We have developed a permanent monitoring solution for large transmission mains. These are the mains that are anywhere from 24 inches up to 110 inches in diameter that you could drive your car through. Our system is permanently monitoring these systems at, let's say, every half-mile or so.
We put in nodes. It works off 3G radio signals with a hydrophone and a variety of other sensors that can be attached to the pipe, so we are monitoring for leakage, pressure transient, flow etc… Essentially, these are for the pipes that keep you up at night, worrying about what would happen if they exploded and flooded your downtown area, which we've seen happen in the news on occasion.
Traditionally, people haven't even believed correlation technology will work on transmission mains, and we've not only made it work, we have a system currently installed in New Orleans, LA that we've tested down to around one gallon per minute on a 36-inch pipe over 2,500 feet with test leaks.
The system basically is always on, looking for events 24/7, and then it wakes up in the middle of the night to do a detailed analysis of the pipe, to see if there's any leakage or anything else going on with it.
Water Online Radio: Talk about how much money we are talking about when a catastrophic failure takes place and what's the impact?
Marc: If you go through the news, you'll see – I don't want to name any utilities to embarrass them, but all you have to do is an internet search, and you'll see some of these pipes that have exploded. There was one recently in London, England.
When these things occur, they can cause millions of dollars’ worth of damage, depending on whom they flood and where the pipe explodes. Really, what this system is meant for is risk mitigation.
The fact that we can find a small leak before it becomes a big leak, that's really the value proposition, not so much on the water loss, but really on allowing people to know that their pipes are safe and being monitored…
Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.