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In 2004, American States Utility Services, Inc. (ASUS) assumed ownership and maintenance, through a 50-year utility privatization (UP) contract, of the aging and deteriorating water system at Fort Bliss in Texas and New Mexico, which included more than 310 miles of water transmission and distribution mains.

SEBALOG Commander reading unit

In 2016, ASUS made federally funded capital improvement upgrades to the system, including implementation of a leak detection program through which it can continuously monitor water mains for leaks, and identify areas in need of repair. With this leak detection system ASUS can also estimate the size of the leak(s), and determine the amount of water loss based on American Water Works Association standards. These losses are calculated, as are the costs the company saves by conducting the repairs.

ASUS utilized SEBAKMT noise level loggers with a SEBALOG Commander reading unit. The loggers sense the vibration caused by water leaking through a pipe, this vibration creates a noise (dB) and frequency (Hz). This information is stored directly in the logger, and is read by the commander unit through drive-by reading on a monthly basis. Loggers that identify a potential leak will be flagged as being in “leak mode” when read by the commander unit. The information stored in these leak mode loggers is analyzed, and interpreted by the SEBA software, to pinpoint leaks in the field within a few feet from its actual location.

By installing leak detection and noise level logger equipment and conducting a comprehensive monitoring program, ASUS can check the integrity of the entire water distribution system network frequently and make the necessary repairs, improving service reliability. The logger equipment is easy to use, install, and relocate. It does not require additional communication components to convey data between the loggers and collection system, making this technology a cost effective solution.

ASUS’s ability to use innovative technology in capital improvement projects made Fort Bliss’s water distribution system more reliable and less costly to operate by reducing water loss, and improving our ability to identify areas in need of immediate repair or replacement. The leak detection loggers can be relocated as needed and used continuously to ensure constant monitoring and assessment of the system.