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Veolia Water has been using Halma Water Management’s (HWM’s) Permalog+ noise loggers to effectively manage water networks at an increased efficiency and lower cost.

The Permalog+ noise loggers have been employed in a lift-and-shift method to quickly, easily and accurately find and repair leaks.

The small devices are deployed at points around the water network, where they monitor the noise levels on the pipes themselves.

Changes and distinctive patterns in sound indicate the presence of leaks, often including ones that would otherwise go completely undetected.

Mounted directly onto the pipes by a strong magnet, and battery powered, the Permalog+ units can continuously monitor the section of piping around them for tell-tale signs of a leak.

Once found, various telemetry and communication methods are available to alert leak detection operatives either immediately or at a specified time.

In a typical usage scenario, the data will either be collected or sent back to a central database, where each logger’s location is displayed on a map with either a green flag for ‘all clear’ or a red flag to indicate a leak.

Each logger’s serial number, noise level and noise spread (the leak ‘signature’) are displayed alongside them on the map.

Veolia Water has nine noise logger technicians to carry out lift-and-shift operations, with an average of more than 80 individual Permalog+ units deployed and retrieved by each technician every day.

The lift-and-shift temporary installation method allows the use of a smaller number of units to cover a large area, effectively ‘auditing’ the network for leaks.

As an alternative to a permanent installation, where the loggers would sit waiting and monitoring for new leaks in order to address them immediately, lift-and-shift deployment actively searches for leaks throughout the network in a ‘sweeping’ pattern.

Leakage teams will deploy loggers throughout the next targeted area (typically divided by DMA), where they will remain overnight.

The following day, the loggers are collected by the team, with a centralised record being made of where there are leaks and where the system is clear.

These loggers can then be deployed to a new area and so a rolling, sweeping search for leaks progresses throughout the network.

In contrast to a ‘permanent’ deployment pattern, Permalog+ devices for use in a lift-and-shift operation will be pre-programmed at the factory or by the user with specially designed software to only transmit their recorded data when an operative swipes them with a magnet.

There is no radio interference from other loggers nearby (stored in the car, for example) and the data is kept both secure and compartmentalised.

This is useful when the same loggers will eventually be deployed in many different locations – the fundamental point of the lift-and-shift method.

The Permalog+ units and system incorporate several recent technological developments by HWM to make them more efficient and easier to use than before.

The loggers can be pre-programmed and can automatically record each deployed unit’s serial number and location by GPS tracking.

This means that deployment is quick and there is no longer a danger of misplacing loggers – or the maps of where they are – which means that retrieval is also simplified.

The new Permalog+ version can also utilise the extended logging functionality of Aqualog.

This records noise levels at set intervals over a longer time period of up to 29 days.

This enables the trending analysis and graphical representation of the data, providing for more detailed leak analysis and definite confirmation.

User-configured or preset-alarm threshold settings can be applied for different pipe types and diameters.

Veolia Water has been able to easily and quickly find leaks, leading to reduced costs from resources.

The new GPS mapping technology tracks and makes visible the effort being applied by the one-man teams and has resulted in a higher deployment rate than before.

It also gave the company an audit trail of loggers, ensuring accountability and precise location tracking.

With more than 80 loggers per technician per day being deployed and collected, the speed of the activity means that detection time can be reduced when compared with other, more traditional leak-finding technologies and methods.

A recent Veolia project that involved targeting 15 DMAs, covering some 28,000 properties, took only 32 days to sweep and 96 leaks were detected.

The speed of the search and, therefore, the swiftness of the response is key to minimising waste and reducing NRW levels.

The fact that the Permalog+ system is very accurate in terms of both location and detection, as well as being sensitive enough to find ‘hidden’ leaks, makes it an effective tool for combating water loss.

Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies

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