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Park City, Utah Reduces Water Loss by 10% Using Leak Detection and Pressure Monitoring

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Mountain Resort City Reduces Water Loss By 10 Percent Through Deployment of Intelligent Leak Detection and Pressure Monitoring Solution

Long before Park City, Utah became a world-class mountain resort and venue for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, it was famous as a silver mining town. Founded by prospectors in the late 1800s, Park City remained a mining town until the 1970s. In the 1950s winter recreation came to Park City, which in turn brought ski businesses to the small town of 8,000. Over time, with the help of summer tourism and the Sundance Film Festival, the City now receives more than 600,000 annual visitors.

Park City recently set a goal of making municipal operations net-zero carbon by the year 2022. The City`s Public Utilities Department went to work to support this goal, and is also gaining accolades for its forward-thinking approach to leak detection and to addressing water loss.

Focusing on reducing water loss has the potential to both reduce the energy footprint of the water utility and reduce the amount of water used to serve the community. It also saves the community money by avoiding new and more expensive water sources that might otherwise be needed to meet future demand.

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Challenge

Jason Christensen serves as Water Resources Manager for Park City, which has more than 120 miles of pipe in its distribution network. The average age of the network is about 40 years old, with some pipes more than 60 years old, and in some areas these pipes may be covered in corrosive mineral soil.

By reviewing SCADA and Sensus AMI consumption data, Christensen was aware of leaks in a specific part their system that attributed to a loss of 300 GPM. A traditional leak detection approach, which found loss in other areas of the system, did not identify any leaks in that area.

Park City engaged Xylem to deploy their intelligent sensor hardware and monitoring solutions as part of a condition assessment program in the suspect area to understand their system and reduce non-revenue water. The project involved monitoring 6 pressure zones and reporting on anomalies such as leaks and bursts and identifying assets that are likely to fail through predictive analytics.

Solution

Acoustic and transient pressure monitoring sensors were installed at 20 sites. For more than 5 months the sensors were used to monitor for leaks and understand the operational pressures and surges within the network, and their impact on the structural integrity of the pipelines.

Xylem’s LeakView platform uses acoustic, pressure, and flow data integrated with advanced analytics to detect leaks and bursts on critical network sections. The solution combines the analytics from three major leak detection methodologies — pressure transients, hydrophones and flow rates — to help utilities reduce non-revenue water. This automated process, supervised by analysts in a 24/7 monitoring environment, simplifies the visualization of data and helps repair crews prioritize their response.

Xylem’s SurgeView transient pressure monitoring is a non-invasive and cost-effective way to monitor water networks for the presence of damaging pressure surges. Through its in-line detection of pressure transients, the solution helps determine the source of these events and identifies pipes under stress with high likelihood of leakage. This early warning helps manage damaging pressure variations and mitigate the risks associated with premature pipe failure, prolonging the effective life of infrastructure assets.

Outcome

Through a previous leak detection survey, Park City identified leaks that represented a loss of about 100 gallons per minute. By deploying the Xylem solution, the City identified an additional 7 leaks, bringing total non-revenue water loss identified and corrected to 300 gallons per minute, representing a 10 percent reduction in annual demand.

“We’re seeing a lot of benefit to focusing on these leaks now and seeing what we can do to find the leaks that aren’t surfacing. We’ve reduced our operating costs by about $150,000 annually—that’s real savings that pays for this service and repairs…money we’re saving the community.”

- Jason Christensen, Water Resources Manager, Park City

The leaks found through the Xylem solution cost the city nearly $55,000 to repair, not including the value of water lost. Findings from the transient monitoring revealed harmful pressure spikes generated by a soon-to-be-retired pump station. Future recommendations involve another round of monitoring after the pump station is retired to ensure the changes had a calming effect.

Going forward, the city now has a better handle on the condition of its system and will further monitor their system for new areas of concern.

That’s the power of decision intelligence.

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