Between 20 and 40 per cent of total water supply can be lost through damaged pipes
ENGINEERS at a Yorkshire university have developed a pioneering detection system capable of driving down the national problem of leaking water pipes.
Initial tests carried out by Yorkshire Water show that the system developed at Sheffield University can identify damaged water pipes in a “reliable and accurate” way.
The trial was led by Dr James Shucksmith, from the university’s department of civil and structural engineering.
He said: “We are very excited by the results we’ve achieved so far.
“We are able to identify the location of leaks much more accurately and rapidly than existing systems are able to, meaning water companies will be able to save both time and money in carrying out repairs.
“The system has delivered some very promising results at Yorkshire Water.”
Leaking pipes are a common problem for the water industry in the UK and, according to Ofwat, between 20 and 40 per cent of total water supply can be lost through damaged pipes.
Therefore, developing more accurate ways of finding leaks would enable water companies to both save money and become more environmentally-friendly.
The new system invented at Sheffield University tests pipes by transmitting a pressure wave along them that sends back a signal if it passes any unexpected features, such as a leak or a crack in the pipe’s surface.
That pressure wave is generated by a valve fitted to an ordinary water hydrant, which is opened and closed rapidly.
The wave sends back a reflection, or a signal, if it encounters any anomalous features in the pipe. The strength of that signal can then be analysed to determine the location and the size of the leak.
Originally developed by a team led by Professor Stephen Beck in the mechanical engineering department, the invention was developed into a prototype device in partnership with fellow academics and Yorkshire Water.
It has now been trialled at the company’s field operators training site in Bradford.
During those tests, leaks in cast-iron pipes were located accurately to within a metre, while leaks in plastic pipes were located even more precisely, to within 20cm.
via Yorkshire Post
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