Listening to water lines helps pinpoint leaks

City of Fort Wayne Seal

News release from the City of Fort Wayne:

Listening to Water Lines Helps Pinpoint Leaks
City Utilities contractor to start high-tech surveying next week

Residents of southwest Fort Wayne will soon see a contractor circulating through neighborhoods listening to water lines. Beginning the week of August 6, 2012, M.E. Simpson Company employees will use listening devices attached to fire hydrants or water main valves to find leaks in City owned water pipes. If sounds indicating a leak are heard, the contractor will then use electronic equipment to pinpoint the location. The purpose of the study is to help City Utilities take proactive steps to determine where undetected small leaks in the system could lead to water main breaks and, in some cases, make a repair before a break happens.

For about a month, M.E. Simpson employees will be working in the area south of Washington Center Road and west of the St. Joseph and St. Mary’s Rivers to perform the leak survey. They will be attaching wires or other devices to fire hydrants and wearing earphones to listen for sounds that indicate a leak. The leaks detected in this way are not large enough to be seen on the surface and are not considered main breaks, but they can indicate potential weak points in a water main.

The current work represents the third of a four-phased study City Utilities began two years ago. The number of small leaks detected is one of several criteria City Utilities uses to prioritize water mains for repair or replacement. Information about leaks also helps City Utilities better understand how much of the water produced at the Three Rivers Filtration Plant is being lost into the ground. Identifying and repairing leaks is one more way City Utilities helps ensure that community is protecting our water resources. City Utilities shares water monitoring and water saving data with the State of Indiana and is part of our on-going work to help protect the State’s valuable water resources.

During the study period, employees of M.E. Simpson Company will be working in two-person teams and will be driving vehicles with the company name and logo. The contractor will not be asking for access to anyone’s home. Some of the leak survey work may be done during evening hours and at night. Lower traffic volumes make it easier for the contractor to hear the sounds of leaking water mains.

The Fort Wayne Board of Public Works approved a $41,285 contract with M.E. Simpson today.

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