News Feature | June 5, 2015

Kentucky Water Utility Turns To Robots For Leak Detection

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

In a $1.7 million effort, a Kentucky water utility is deploying a high-tech robot to detect weakness in water mains that could lead to ruptures.

The equipment, known as PureRobotics, is "likened to both a remote-controlled car and a miniaturized tanker truck," according to Louisville Business First.

"The tool, which is designed to inspect the interior of water pipes, records video but also emits electromagnetic signals as a way to gather data on the condition of the water main, said Keith Coombs, manager of infrastructure planning for Louisville Water Co. That analysis can later be used to pinpoint where repairs are needed and can also determine if areas of the pipe need to be replaced," the report said.

Created by Pure Technologies and under use by one of its partners, the Louisville Water Company, the robot will "check for leaks and the strength while the water is off inside a 24- and 30-inch transmission main. The main carries millions of gallons of water to customers and it’s the first time the pipe has been inspected. Technology, like a robot from Pure Technologies, just got to the market around six years ago," WLKY reported.

"A high-definition camera on [the device] makes sure [it] doesn’t run into the side of the pipe and also records video," according to Louisville Water. After each inspection, the pipe is cleaned then refilled with water.

“[We are] very focused on maintaining this pipe and pumping stations,” said Kelley Dearing-Smith of the Louisville Water Company.

To find more on preventing water main breaks, visit Water Online’s Utility Asset Management Solutions Center.