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Northumbrian Water trials leak detection sensors

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Northumbrian Water is trialling street level sensors that detect and report burst water pipes when they happen, the utility has announced.

Developed in collaboration with Invenio Systems, the sensors are fitted to the outside of pipe networks and the data they transmit can be used to assess the rate of water flow passing through pipes.

When a pipe bursts, the sensors can detect the change in water flow and details will be passed on to Northumbrian Water’s leakage detection team.

"This is another example of how we are using innovation to combat leaks and reduce the amount of water that goes to waste from our pipe network,” said Joe Butterfield, network performance specialist at Northumbrian Water.

"We have been working closely with Invenio Systems to develop this concept since the 2017 Innovation Festival, and we are excited to see how it performs. This technology could make a real difference, helping us to detect leaks as soon as they happen so we can get out to fix them with minimal water going to waste, and minimal disruption to our customers."

"We believe this is the first time anywhere in the world that this type of sensor has been used on a live water distribution network to understand patterns of flow and to detect leaks,” added Stuart Trow, director of Invenio Systems. “We are very excited to test our sensors in this way and we appreciate the support provided by Northumbrian Water.”

In addition to street level sensors, the utility company is employing satellite technology to capture images that can be used to detect leaks, as well as the use of sniffer dogs to detect leak scents.