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The Dangers of Unseen, Unchecked Water Leaks

Published on Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Dangers of Unseen, Unchecked Water Leaks

Over time, we’ve provided tools to many experts and professionals working with water and non-revenue water issues throughout the United States. Our tools have been responsible for finding literally billions of gallons-worth of leaked water from water mains and metered pressure zones. Aside from the obvious danger of wasting valuable purified fresh water, there are many costs and other dangers to unseen and unchecked water leaks that we want to touch upon.

Sinkholes and Street Damage- Did you know that large sinkholes can result from small leaks in water mains? Let’s explain how. As hundreds upon hundreds of gallons of water leak from a water main or service, the water has to go somewhere. As the water exits the pipe into the ground, it takes valuable minerals with it, slowly eroding the area below it, and boring a hole into the ground similar to a bubble creating a large void. This is especially true in areas where pipe is laid in limestone. For a while, the structure of the ground will hold up, but eventually the downward pressure on the void causes it to collapse, resulting in a sinkhole.... large or small they are costly. These holes can be so big that they swallow entire properties. You may have seen pictures on the news of a fire truck, trash truck, car or a bus swallowed up in the spectacular "crater" like void created by the leaking pipe. However, they are preventable by detecting leaks in water mains early with a structured program of leak detection and system monitoring.

Other Structural Damage - Let’s also talk about flooding occurring in strange places. We have all heard stories of abandoned tunnels filling up like swimming pools or small ponds developing as a result of leaking water mains. Manholes and conduits flood causing damage over time. Electric, cable TV, and phone service interruptions are certainly expensive to repair.

 Sometimes, the ground isn’t all that suffers from a broken water main. These mains can break and leak for years without anyone noticing it, and that can be extremely dangerous. Eventually the water that is leaking may pool around nearby properties, which will absorb a fraction of the water. As the water penetrates their foundation, it creates problems including cracks in the foundation. As the water gets in, it can leave behind mold and fungus and many other issues. Aside from causing sometimes deadly sinkholes, it can also damage nearby properties and cause unsuspecting home and business owners serious water damage, and somebody is going to be held accountable, most likely the water company that ignored a leaking water main.

When water mains and services leak, it is possible for some of that water to find its way into the sanitary sewer system. This infiltration is costly for the plant operator in non recoverable processing costs, structural damage, and sometimes can put pressure on the allowable gallons permit under which the plant operates. Expenditures for engineering and plant upgrades might not be needed as a result of proper water loss management.

It’s an extreme waste of resources. The water leaking from these pipes has already been filtered, cleaned and otherwise purified, which takes a significant amount of resources to do. As it leaks into the ground, that’s the money of individuals that regularly pay their bills going straight down the proverbial drain. Aside from money, consider the resources that go into producing the electricity to purify that water. All in all, when water leaks to the tune of hundreds of millions of gallons, all of society as a whole, loses.

Our mission is to save water, to be good stewards of the environment, while also preventing the unnecessary side effects of not being efficient. Our quality of life is improved by protecting our infrastructure. We help professionals in the water, gas and sewer industries every year with our advanced leak detection products, sewer cleaning and inspection tools, as well as the pipe and cable locating equipment needed in these industries every day. Call us with your questions at 866-246-1828



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Author: Matt

Categories: Blog




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