Network Leakage Controllers for United Utilities have used a Mobile Advanced Step Tester (MAST) system from HWM Palmer Environmental to find two major leaks in one night. The Controllers were having trouble detecting the leaks using conventional acoustic methods. After two weeks they brought in the MAST system and found both leaks in one night, producing a saving of 1.5 megalitres of water per day.
The Controllers were attempting to locate leaks in areas in Marple Bridge and Stockport, both near Manchester. They were having trouble using conventional acoustic methods in an area of plastic pipes giving poor leak noise propagation. A new MAST system was purchased from HWM Palmer and enabled them to locate both leaks within five hours.
The MAST system is a portable radio based unit providing coverage of up to 5 miles. It enables single user operation and can interface with all standard meter types. It provides real-time data so the tests can be carried out without unnecessary valve operations.
Step testing is one of the most effective ways of identifying a high leakage area within a water distribution network. Valves on a network are closed and opened to determine the area of leakage. Sections of the network are eliminated and the position of the leak is narrowed to down to a single length of pipe. The transmitted information also quantifies the volume of leakage identified to help prioritisation of repairs.