Acoustical Leak Detection Helps Control Water Losses

Getting clean water from the reservoir or well to your kitchen sink is not as easy as it sounds...

Sep 1st, 2007
Th 260620

Getting clean water from the reservoir or well to your kitchen sink is not as easy as it sounds, especially considering that throughout North America, old leaky water pipes and failing infrastructure create a steady stream of water loss. Aging water infrastructure, along with a growing attention to water conservation, is forcing many cities throughout North America to focus on plugging the holes in their systems. Of the many options available for conserving water, leak detection is a logical first step.

Click here to enlarge image

Through its acquisition of Flow Metrix last fall, Itron has combined advanced metering and acoustical leak detection capability into a single intelligent network solution. The company’s MLOG acoustic sensors can automatically monitor a distribution system 365 days a year, listening for the “acoustical signatures” of leaks.

The MLOG sensors are installed directly on the pipe on the distribution side of selected customer meters. Piggybacking on Itron’s Water Fixed Network for communication and data backhaul, the sensors provide the utility with the ability to precisely locate and repair leaks, eliminating the need for expensive and disruptive hit-or-miss excavations.

In a typical application, the low-cost, permanently installed acoustical sensors are deployed on every 10th water service connection. Four hours each night the sensors survey the entire system for sound patterns, detecting new, evolving and pre-existing leaks. With the sensor cabled to an Itron 200W meter module, recorded data is transmitted to the utility via the company’s 1.4MHz Water Fixed Network automated meter reading (AMI) system or by way of radio transmission from the MLOG logger to a handheld or vehicle-based MLOG Controller.

Advanced analytical software analyzes the data looking for changes in the level and frequency of pipe sounds. It then creates a leak index for each sensor and displays potential leaks on a detailed MLOG Color MapTM of the service area. Flexible reports facilitate management of each device, leak pinpointing and leak investigation. An expanding database of historical information allows water providers to track assets, account for lost water and guide maintenance of their water pipeline network.

In addition to the sensors, Itron offers the MLOG online network leak monitoring system, a suite of web applications designed to proactively manage leakage data from one or many water distribution systems. A secure data repository of historical information allows water providers to track assets, account for lost water and guide maintenance of their water pipeline network.

Itron’s leak detection and water loss solutions enable water providers of all sizes to take control of their drinking water distribution system and reduce water losses. And by combining advanced metering with leak detection capability into one network solution, the business case for deployment of both technologies is significantly strengthened.

More in Distribution