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  • Cory Simonson

Surveying to Find Non-Revenue Water Loss



Standing in front of the grocery store’s toothpaste section aisle, I was overwhelmed by my choices. Did I care more about whitening my teeth, strengthening the enamel, fighting cavities, or reducing sensitivity? And if I chose the whitening paste, was I opening myself up to a root canal in six months? Where was the one that did all of that?


When it comes to surveying for non-revenue water loss, you also are offered multiple choices. The good thing is, an excellent water surveyor won’t just provide a single survey type. This blog will shed some light on the different types of surveys a leak detection service, like Utility Services Associates, can offer:


Acoustic Leak Detection


Acoustic detection is a type of surveying that uses sound to determine if there are leak type noises and, if so, where they may be originating. Different types of pipe materials and the various types of leaks require different survey strategies of acoustic detection. Our teams use advanced acoustic leak detection equipment, implementing these types of surveys to find the location of pressurized leaks.


Standard Survey:


The standard survey is conducted on pipe types with a better sound transfer, typically metallic based pipe. Our team uses a leak noise survey tool, which places a sensitive transducer sound sensor on multiple contact points starting in one direction. We begin with this type of survey to get a general condition assessment of the water system. Once we hear a leak-type noise, we continue to survey the area to locate the loudest intensity leak type noise. Once we have a general idea of where leak type noise originates, we use a digital leak correlator to find the leak’s location relevant to a specific access point. Then verification with the ground microphone to increase confidence in the leak’s location.


Correlator Survey:


A digital leak noise correlator completes all sounding within the specific run. The correlator has two preamp outstations straddling the suspected leak location. The distance is measured between the two preamp outstations and inputted into the correlator’s processor base station. With this known data, the correlator processes the data in real-time to check if the suspected location has a leak or no leak. Each correlation locates and measures the distance from one preamp outstation to the leak. FYI, the two outstations must hear the same leak type noise at both preamp outstations for a successful correlation.


Point to Point Survey:


This type of survey will be conducted to further the integrity of a utility’s water system by finding all detectable leaks in the water system. This type of survey will find small and large leaks that exist in the water system. Since our team is listening to every appurtenance on the water system, we also note any missing or damaged components. This type of survey finds every leak from the consumer’s side to small dripping meter leaks. Nothing is missed to ensure efficiency. Typically this type of survey is on plastic-based piping. This type of survey is mandatory when we follow up on a known leak in the area.


Mainline Valve to Mainline Valve Survey:


We conduct mainline valve surveys to ensure you are not missing any large mainline leaks. Mainline valves can be all pipe types from asbestos cement, metallic based pipes, and plastic-based pipes.


Hydrant to Hydrant Survey:


Typically conducted when a water system is suddenly losing large amounts of water. It is implemented by listening to all of the hydrants operating nuts. Once we find the largest leak type noise on a hydrant, we conduct a point to point survey to locate the leak or leaks. Our team uses the “pinpointing” method to identify specific locations. This survey is quick, and the surveyor will identify large leaks rapidly.


Deployable Loggers Survey:


In high traffic or high water consumption areas, we provide deployable loggers that will track data over a specified time. This live recorded data is then analyzed to determine whether there is a leak type noise in the vicinity.



Responsive Surveying



With multiple ways to survey the water pipes in a utility system, a team that knows the best surveys for specific circumstances is essential. Many small and medium utilities have turned to outsource the surveying to a specialist like Utility Services Associates. These specialists can determine the best surveying method and find the leaks’ locations for the utility crews to respond to the least amount of unnecessary excavation and resource waste.


When working with Utility Services Associates, we implement a customized water loss strategy to meet your utility’s unique needs. By looking at your utility’s historical data, pipe breakdown, and collaborative conversations with the utility team, we provide an exact list of deployable options to aid in the utility’s water loss recovery plan.


Utility Services Associates has been a leader in leak detection since 1990. With the proper equipment, expert knowledge to solve our client’s water loss problems and provide a proactive strategy for our clients to save money, stay within budget, and reduce water-loss emergency costs. As a family-owned business, we work to provide a comprehensive non-revenue water loss strategy to utilities serving urban and rural communities. Contact me at 877-585-LEAK (5325) or info@nrwloss.com to discuss how we can help solve your water loss problems.






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