New Jersey American Water Clamps Down on Pipe Breaks

15-07-2019

In late October, the Water Loss Control Project Manager for New Jersey American Water (NJAW), Ron Oppenheimer, received a notification alert that their EchoShore®-DX acoustic leak detection nodes had identified a possible leak. The Echologics Leak Operations Center (LOC) reported the potential leak, located about 1,400 feet away from the node. The LOC had monitored the leak for persistence and NJAW created a work order, and deployed field personnel to confirm and pinpoint the leak. The site was a residential street in Chatham Township, located in northern New Jersey.

Acoustic leak monitoring technology leak detection
Upon arrival of the field resources, there was no visual indication of the presence of a leak. Based upon acoustic confirmation and after three feet of excavation, there was a pool of water bubbling up. A storm sewer pipe that ran adjacent to the water main was damaged and had inadvertently been draining the majority of the potable water from the leaking main. Once the excavator reached the water main, there was a spray of pressurised water shooting 20 feet high into the air. The leak was from a full circumferential break in the pipe.

The most likely cause for this main break was recent road resurfacing combined with the rocky soil conditions. The pipe, when originally installed about seventy years ago, was laid on bedrock and roadwork compactors could have compromised the main during paving. With both pipes damaged, this leak could have gone unnoticed for months, if not years. A water main repair clamp was used to fix the leak with no shutdown or loss of supply to customers. The damaged sewer pipe was also repaired, all with a minimal impact to the road.

New Jersey American Water has over 4,500 permanent leak detection monitors spread across multiple water systems and additional deployments are planned in the next three years. Russell G. Titus, senior superintendent at New Jersey American Water, says, “Echologic’s leak detection technology has allowed us to schedule repairs and improve our customer experience. Our pilot deployment of nodes in 2016 saved us approximately 1.7 million gallons per day of water and reduced operating expenses by $1.9 million in less than two years of operation. In targeted areas, permanent acoustic monitoring is a very effective way to minimise leakage in our water systems.”

Continuous leak detection monitoring for distribution mains
Early leak detection is vital for distribution systems, with the ability to identify system failure points before they impact customer service levels. When water resources are limited, early leak detection is a valuable tool in reducing non-revenue water and extending pipe asset life. The EchoShore-DX platform is a fixed leak detection technology that is changing the way water main leaks are identified and repaired.

The EchoShore-DX platform incorporates the latest generation of acoustic sensors that are the result of Echologics pioneering success with correlating leaks on a variety of pipe materials and large diameter mains. The sensors are built into a standard fire hydrant cap and are capable of identifying extremely faint acoustical noises emitted by leaks before they become detectable by conventional methods. This early detection capability enables utilities to prioritise repair based on actual need and the most effective allocation of repair crews.

Client close-up
New Jersey American Water is the largest water service provider in the state of New Jersey, serving approximately 2.7 million people in 191 communities. More than 800 highly-skilled professionals carry out the company’s foremost responsibility of providing safe, reliable water and wastewater service to New Jersey’s communities around the clock.

Advantages for the future
The platform is designed to provide more accurate information on the location of a leak. A key advantage of the EchoShore-DX platform is that it performs a system-wide leak detection correlation when first activated. Identifying and repairing any existing leaks enables creating an accurate and known acoustical baseline for the monitoring zone. This results in exceptionally high detection accuracy of any leaks that may develop in the future.