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The Racine Water Utility initiated its own in-house Leak Detection Program in the spring of 2011, surveying distinct areas of its distribution system and has been performing leak detection and repairs since. Some leaks are found on private property and the owner is responsible to have them repaired. Others may be found in the public right of way and they are repaired by the Utility. Initially the program began with the purchase and use of a digital leak surveyor, and early results showed the need for a more precise and more efficient tool. In 2012, the Utility took the next step in its leak detection efforts and purchased a digital leak correlator. This tool listens and records the noises caused by leaks at several points in the system, and then calculates the exact locations of the leaks based on time differentials. The correlator greatly reduced the time it took to pinpoint leaks and, at the same time, gave more precise locations.
As time permits, the Utility Construction Department personnel conduct leak detection intermittently throughout the year. This proactive approach towards searching for and repairing leaks ultimately reduces costs to repair mains, hydrants, valves, and services. Construction Department personnel roughly check 15% of the distribution a year. At this rate, the entire retail distribution system could be checked for leaks every 7 years.
Allowing leaks to continue, worsens conditions and increases costs for labor, materials, and property restoration work. Finding these leaks also helps RWU save with water production, reducing the costs for electricity and chemicals the Utility would need to produce that leaking water. The table below shows how much water we have saved and the costs savings from not producing that water since we started our leak detection program in 2011.
*Based on RWU current water rate of $1.75 per 100 cubic feet for at least 200,000 gallons used quarterly
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