Saving water one leak at a time

Saving water one leak at a time

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Water is a valuable commodity. Across the United States, water and wastewater infrastructure is aging and it is becoming increasingly difficult for utilities to manage its water loss due to potential pipeline leaks and failures. Leaks that escalate in to failures can be costly to correct and have an impact on communities.

The American Water Works Association reports that over 7 billion gallons of drinking water is lost each day primarily due to leaks in water pipelines. This potential loss not only represents the waste of a critical natural resource, but can account for huge financial costs in terms of billing and wasted energy used to pump and treat the water.

To combat such water loss, Dallas Water Utilities (DWU) has an active and successful leak detection program. Just last year, DWU inspected some 4,600 miles of pipe and located 415 active leaks. Finding and fixing these leaks last year saved the utility more than 200 Million gallons of water. In 2004 DWU launched its leak detection program accomplishing 479 miles of pipeline assessment. With the continued support of City Council over the past several years the program has grown allowing DWU to assess an average of 3,700 miles annually since 2009, DWU has seen a reduction in catastrophic water main failures which reduces property loss claims, unplanned service interruptions and reduced delivery costs.

“With our aging infrastructure and recent drought conditions, leak detection is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve operational efficiencies, lower water system costs, reduce unplanned water outage events and also reduce the potential for contaminations,” said Randy Payton, Assistant Director for Water Delivery with Dallas Water Utilities. “Dallas’ leak detection program costs $1.67 per 1000 gallons of water. Developing new water sources would be over $2, so it just makes sense.”

In addition to internal staffing and resources, DWU uses Sahara and Smartball leak detection technologies offered by Pure Technologies Ltd. for transmission main inspections. The non-destructive tools allow a leak assessment to be administered on larger diameter pipelines while they remain in service. Reports generated from the technologies provide an analysis and confirmation of suspected leaks, gas pockets, pipe wall conditions and pipeline features. Inspections are typically performed during the summer months while higher demands and system pressure exists.

“DWU pledges to meet current and future water demands as the availability of water is not a given,” said Payton.

DWU is an efficient provider of superior water and wastewater service and a leader in the water industry, providing services vital to the health and safety of Dallas citizens.

For more information on DWU, visit

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