SCADA Systems and Leak Detection Services
Across the country, residents depend on distribution systems for wastewater removal, water, and natural gas. A leak in any of these systems can lead to supply interruptions and environmental hazards. Timely leak detection services are a critical part of maintaining a high level of customer service.
The Consequences of Leaky Pipes
Many municipalities have water systems that are past their prime. Unfortunately, water and gas infrastructure does not have the same public visibility as roads and bridges. Digging up pipes is expensive and inconvenient, so it is not unusual to put off these repairs until there is a noticeable problem. However, failing to maintain such systems has serious consequences.
Water or gas that does not make it to residents is lost revenue for the supply company. Most water utilities expect some amount of loss as water flows through miles of pipe, but a significant leak will drain gallons every hour.
Water and gas leak detection can prevent secondary damage. A constant stream of water will loosen the soil around the leak. This soft earth can cause settling that leads to sinkholes and road buckling. A large leak may cause structural damage as buildings lose support. Repairing this type of damage can be even more expensive than fixing the leaky pipe.
Leak Detection and Public Health
A leaky wastewater system will create dangerous pockets of raw sewage that can pool on the surface. Such seepage is a biological hazard that requires extensive cleanup procedures.
Leaks in a clean water distribution system are also problematic. When water pipes operate correctly, the water exerts an outward pressure that prevents groundwater from seeping in. Leaks lower the internal pressure and allow bacteria and other biological material into the water supply. Leaky pipe infrastructure is a common cause of boil-water mandates.
Gas leaks are a significant public safety concern. Natural gas is both poisonous and flammable. Any leak in the distribution system is a concern. A gas explosion will cause extensive damage to buildings as well as serious injuries.
Water Leak Detection
In the worst-case scenario, a sinkhole or another severe issue reveals a leaky pipe. Because much of the infrastructure is underground, water leak detection can be a challenge. However, pressure sensors and acoustic leak detectors have improved the process.
Pressure and Volume Changes
Water should travel at a predictable pressure throughout its journey. An unexpected change in water pressure or flow volume may indicate a leak. Most leaks result from pipe damage, but a pressure drop may also indicate someone tapping the supply illegally.
Water suppliers can place pressure sensors and flow meters at critical points throughout the system. When there is a drop in pressure or a change in flow volume between two points, they will have a general sense of the location of the problem.
Pinpointing the Problem with an Acoustic Water Leak Detector
Once the utility recognizes a leak, they need to send out a crew to fix it. However, they do not want to excavate a large section of pipe if it is not necessary. When water escapes from a pipe, it makes a telltale hissing sound. Using an acoustic water leak detector allows the crew to pinpoint the location.
How a SCADA System Can Help
A SCADA system is a powerful tool for improving leak detection services. SCADA systems receive data from sensors throughout the pipeline and convey it to a central server. Utility managers can view real-time information about water pressure and flow changes. Access to this information will minimize the time between leak detection and repair.
A well-monitored system will simplify auditing and help create intentional maintenance schedules. Large municipalities may be working with sections of pipe infrastructure of different ages and materials. When a leak appears in one area, the utility can plan to repair or replace units of a similar age and construction.
A SCADA system also empowers remote control of connected devices. For water or gas leak detection, the utility can shut down sections immediately when hazardous conditions arise. In larger systems, they may be able to reroute the flow to minimize customer disruptions.
Advanced Leak Detection Services
Hide Tide Technologies specializes in cloud-based SCADA software for municipal water and wastewater distribution systems, as well as natural gas pipelines. Our team will provide the necessary hardware to monitor your equipment from any location safely. Careful monitoring combined with planned maintenance will keep your system reliable and safe.