Southern Water trials SmartBall in battle against leaks
Southern Water is testing the SmartBall device that travels along water pipes and can detect weakened pipes before they become bursts.
Supported by partners Pure Technologies and Water Research Centre (WRc), Southern Water's technology team are applying the device, which was developed for use in the oil and gas industry, in the 13,000 km of pipeline that make up its water network.
The SmartBall features a small hardened globe containing acoustic sensors that can 'hear' a leak of as little as 0.11 litres/min. Other detectors can spot unevenness in pipes and pockets of air in a pipe. The data is transmitted to surface stations placed along the pipe's path or downloaded when the ball is recovered. The 'globe' is covered with a bright blue protective sponge layer.
"We have worked very hard on finding new ways of finding and fixing leaks with a goal of eventually reducing wasted water from our vast network to zero," Sarah Elliman, Southern's research and development project manager, said. "Innovation and collaboration go hand in hand at Southern Water – we look for the best technology and the best partners and work together to deliver the best solutions to the challenges we face."
Keith Walker, head of infrastructure at WRc, said: "We are really pleased with how smoothly the SmartBall project went for Southern Water, and in collaboration with our partners Pure Technologies. The combination of SmartBall and Sahara – a tethered tool for inspecting pipes – means we can inspect rising mains of any length with minimal disruption to service.
"In-pipe inspection provides the confidence to target replacement and maintenance activity most efficiently, and we look forward to supporting Southern Water in the future – now we've got the ‘ball rolling'."
- Innovative solution enables key pipe jack completion at Barn Elms The design and build of a unique tunnel shield has proved instrumental in Barhale successfully reaching the main Thames... Read More >
- Sensor technology pilot highlights value of real-time dam monitoring Northumbrian Water has joined forces with Amey Consulting to explore how real-time measuring of dam movements could... Read More >
- Southern Water pleads guilty to all EA charges and announces job cuts Southern Water has pleaded guilty to all 51 charges brought by the Environment Agency in relation to a series of incidents... Read More >
- NI Water: A climate emergency gamechanger NI Water has launched its plans to harness the unseen potential in hydrogen from water, to help address the climate... Read More >
- Making the future the present Harry Cowan, chief executive of Power and Water Ltd challenges water industry decision makers and the regulator to eschew... Read More >
- Water Innovation 2050: what next for the sector? Welcome to 2050. The Innovation 2050 document has been published, setting out the key principles of an innovation... Read More >
- Innovation could improve performance and transform water The Environment Agency's 2019 environmental performance report highlights some of the complex challenges facing water... Read More >
- Maximising water efficiency savings from smart meters and adapting to lockdown From 1 September, Thames Water will restart its award-winning programme of in-home water efficiency visits having used... Read More >