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Sound waves reveal more about the condition of underground water mains

4 July 2012BTO

The management of water distribution networks requires knowledge about the condition of the water mains. In a commission from the water companies, KWR is researching different inspection techniques, including a method that assesses the condition of water mains using acoustic measurements.

Assessing the condition of underground mains is expensive, especially if it involves interrupting distribution or if the pipe has to be unearthed. This is the reason why KWR is researching a method developed by a Canadian company which uses sound waves to get an idea of the pipe’s condition. These Echologics measurements can be performed at the valves or fire hydrants – so that it is usually not necessary to unearth the pipe – and they provide an assessment of the condition of pipe sections of 25 to 200 m in length.

Sensor for the measurement of sound waves in a water pipe.

Sensor for the measurement of sound waves in a water pipe.

Quick and inexpensive

The technique is being tested in practice and compared with other existing methods at a number of water companies. Echologics is a useful supplementary source of information on the condition of mains, and is a particularly suitable means of obtaining a quick and relatively inexpensive assessment.

© 2017 KWR Watercycle Research Institute

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