Texas-based New Braunfels Utilities (NBU) used leak detection equipment from Fluid Conservation Systems (FCS) to build an efficient maintenance program for its distribution network while drastically reducing water loss. The equipment allows NBU to conduct scheduled repairs on its pipelines instead of dealing with leaks on an emergency basis.

Image courtesy of FCS

Texas-based New Braunfels Utilities (NBU) used leak-detection equipment to build an efficient maintenance program for its distribution network while drastically reducing water loss. The equipment from Fluid Conservation Systems (FCS) allows NBU to conduct scheduled repairs on its pipelines instead of dealing with leaks on an emergency basis.

The NBU leak-detection and valve-maintenance program was established in 2009 to reduce water loss and increase system and valve reliability for NBU’s 456 miles of pipeline and 24,000 customer connections. At the end of the first year of the program, NBU calculated its average water loss at 2,000 gallons/mile/day.

Recognizing the need for improvement, NBU purchased FCS leak-detection equipment including Xmic ground microphones, a SoundSens “i” correlating noise logger, a TriCorr Touch correlator and Permalog acoustic leak noise data loggers. The team began using the equipment to perform preventive maintenance on 750 valves per year and proactively scan the city for non-surfacing leaks. Two years later, NBU estimates its average water loss at 961 gallons/mile/day, less than half the loss rate during the program’s first year.

“Everyone knows that water is a precious resource and its preservation requires a ton of attention,” said NBU Operations and Maintenance Division Manager Trino Pedraza, in a prepared statement.

FCS Permalog data loggers attach magnetically to pipelines and use advanced algorithms to discern the acoustic signature of leaks from background noise. SoundSens “i” and TriCorr correlators analyze data from acoustic sensors to approximate a leak’s location. The FCS Xmic electronic ground microphone amplifies noise generated by water escaping from buried supply lines under pressure, allowing users to pinpoint a leak’s location.

On a related note, look for the cover story “Under Pressure? Strategies for Limiting Leakage & Loss in Water Distribution Systems” in the January 2012 issue of Flow Control magazine. To subscribe to Flow Control, click here.