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In May 2018 Canal de Isabel II experienced a large waterpipe burst in Madrid that left around 1M residents without water and a 20m crater that had to be filled in with concrete.

By monitoring trunk mains, emerging leaks can be tracked and repaired before they become significant failures.

With this in mind, a pilot of Syrinix PIPEMINDER-T technology was undertaken on four different sections of pipeline, two in urban and two in rural locations.

The objective of this pilot was to investigate leak detection capabilities on different pipeline dimensions and materials and in both quiet and noisy environments.

Madrid urban placement of PIPEMINDER-T

Sensors were installed on air valves in existing chambers.

Three systems were used to enable the detection range to be extended and confirm suitability for the different environments.

Leaks were simulated in blow off chambers whilst a correlation was run. (See Fig 2 & Fig 3)

Fig 3 shows indicated position on Google Map View

Fig 2 shows Acoustic noise of the leak

A rural test was also conducted to test the limitation of inter-sensor distance and the impact of bends which reduce how far in distance acoustic noise will propagate.

PIPEMINDER-T in rural area

The result was a positive correlation over a distance in excess of 3.3km!

Leak detected at 3.3k

Conclusion

  • There was as expected a big difference in the distance between the sensors in the urban and the rural areas.
  • Night data collections were the most effective and accurate in urban noisy areas.
  • Multiple recordings are needed to detect with precision in noisy areas.
  • Pumped (or not pumped) water doesn’t affect detections.
  • Importance of a good GIS avoid confusions of noises that came from the pipe take off's
  • Leaks coming from a 20mm polyethylene pipe were also detected (Not too much flow).
  • The number of sensors neccesary for monitoring a pipe is something that can be optimized
This test has proved that the Syrinix technology is suitable for critical trunk mains that need to be continuously monitored and where an early alert of any event is particularly advantageous.

Even though its performance is optimal in quiet rural areas, its use is also worthy in noisy urban areas, just by adjusting the distance between sensors to a shorter length. We are very pleased with the results that Syrinix delivered.

Javier Fernandez - Subdirector de Telecontrol, Canal de Isabel