SAMCO E-Newsletter

SAMCO Finds Water Leaks for City of Uvalde

In September and October, SAMCO Leak Detection conducted a comprehensive leak detection survey for the City of Uvalde. Because Uvalde pumps their water from the Edwards Aquifer, and it holds water permits from the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA), it applied for and received a matching grant to help identify leaks and reduce pumping from the aquifer. See story below for more information on the EAA’s Groundwater Conservation Plan (GCP) that provides matching funds for water conservation efforts.

The City of Uvalde’s conservation efforts focused on the detection of leaking pipes, a problem that can cause millions of gallons of water loss every year.

To identify the leaks on more than 60 miles of pipe, trained SAMCO employees used detection methods ranging from acoustic inspection to visually recognizing present or potential leaks during a standard walk-through. Residual tests were also performed to determine whether chlorine was present. More than 60 leaks were found. There were also 17 service line leaks, one case of water theft, one valve leak, and four leaking fire hydrants. All of the leaks were plotted on a GPS map for the city to use for future utility planning needs.

SAMCO recommended several solutions to achieve more efficient water use including: repairing and replacing leaking valves, fire hydrants and service lines, replacing obsolete meters, investigating irrigation and meter box leaks, and reporting residential side leaks to customers.

Edwards Aquifer Authority’s Matching Grants for Water Conservation

The Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) was created by the Texas Legislature in 1993 and given the authority to protect and conserve the aquifer that supports the lives and livelihoods of millions of people throughout much of Central Texas.

In early 2004, the EAA organized training programs to help permit holders prepare and implement individual Groundwater Conservation Plans (CGPs). Depending on the type of entity – municipal, industrial, or irrigation – each has general and specific requirements for the GCP. Some of the general requirements include basic contact information, type of water use, and implementation of Best Management Practices. BMPs include system water audits, water waste prohibition, and leak detection for both industrial and municipal permit holders.

The EAA initiated its own Groundwater Conservation Plan (GCP) in 2009 that offered matching grants on a competitive basis to all municipal, industrial, and irrigation entities under its authority that need financial assistance implementing a water conservation program. The eligible options include, but aren’t limited to, rainwater harvesting systems, low-flow toilet installations, low-flow shower head installations, and leak detection and repair programs. The goal of all of these coordinated GCPs is to ensure stability during droughts, and prepare for critical period water-use reductions.

This past August, the Authority’s Board of Directors approved matching conservation program grants totaling $160,460. The recipients included Bexar County Water Control and Improvement District #10, the City of Devine, the City of Live Oak, the City of Shavano Park, Universal City, East Medina County Special Utility District, and Rio Medina Water Corporation. Five out of the seven permit holders are implementing leak detection services.

If your utility, irrigation district, or industry holds a permit from the Edwards Aquifer and is interested in matching grants for water conservation, the next application deadline is April 31, 2011.

For more information on leak detection services, be sure to hear Sam Godfrey of SAMCO speak at the Association of Water Board Directors-Texas Mid-Winter Conference on February 4-5 in Galveston!

Other Recent Projects

Leak detection has become a vital resource to the Houston area as local water systems convert from using ground water to surface water. Some utilities are switching their main water supply to surface water in order to reduce the amount of subsidence, or sinking, that is caused by over pumping of groundwater. Because surface water is usually more costly, utilities want to make sure they’re not losing excessive amounts of water through leaks. Several water systems in the Houston area have been proactive about taking care of their distribution systems by setting up annual leak detection contracts with SAMCO. These systems include: Mission Bend MUD#1, Mission Bend MUD #2, Chelford One MUD, Chelford City MUD#1, Harris County MUD#170, Harris County MUD #133, Harris County MUD#120, Utility District #15 and Bridgestone MUD. To learn more about subsidence issues in the Houston area, read this article from the Community Impact newspaper.

SAMCO just completed the second year of their three-year contract with Mustang Special Utility District. Acoustic leak detection was performed on 46 linear miles of water distribution. An estimated 350 GPS points were collected to map water distribution valves, fire hydrants and one interconnect. A total of 14 leaks were identified.

If you are interested in filling out a leak application form click here,
or for more information call (512) 263-7043.

To find a SAMCO leak detection application just click here,

or call Sam Godfrey at (512) 751-5325 for more information.

www.samco-leakservice.com

Leak Detection Reduces Water Loss

Leaking water pipes can be an expensive waste of water. The City of San Marcos addresses this issue every year by conducting a leak detection survey.
Since San Marcos started the annual leak-detection program in the late 1990s, the City has reduced the water system’s unaccounted for water loss from more than 36% in 1997 to 11% in 2009.

“Especially during a drought, water loss becomes an important issue,” said Tom Taggart, Director of Public Services. “We try to stay ahead of the game by constantly seeking out new ways to improve and maintain the integrity of the distribution system. This keeps the cost to the consumer down in the long run and prevents worse problems from occurring.” For the past eight years, San Marcos has enlisted the help of Samco Leak Detection Services of Austin to help reduce the amount of water disappearing through underground leaks.

This year’s leak detection survey was conducted along 75 miles of water mains, about a fourth of the distribution system in San Marcos, over a three week period in late August and early September. The team discovered 58 leaks, ranging from 24-inch mains to 3/8 inch lines on the system.
Using high-tech acoustic equipment, technicians actually listen for leaks as they monitor the water lines. Once a leak is detected and pinpointed, it is plotted on a map with a GPS coordinate so that repair crews can address according to its magnitude and impact.

Water Distribution Manager Tony Salinas and his crews tackle the leaks in priority order. One of the worst leaks was found along the railroad tracks in a remote area between Wonder World Drive and McCarty Lane where a 12 inch line was leaking inside a concrete vault. Inspectors had to hike into the site to find the line. Another problem was a leaking 12-inch main in a neighborhood. Initially the leak was not visible on the surface and it took Public Services Water Distribution crews some 18 hours to make the repairs, from 8 a.m. until 2 a.m. The leak detection survey covers a fourth of the City’s 300 miles of water mains each year.
“What really makes the biggest difference over time is when a city has the foresight to systematically monitor for leaks and make repairs on an on-going basis,” says Sam Godfrey, President of Samco Leak Detection Services.


City of San Marcos NEWS
630 E. Hopkins
San Marcos, Texas 78666
September 22, 2009
For Immediate Release
Contact: Sam Godfrey, SAMCO Leak Detection, 512.751.5325
Contact: Melissa Millecam, Communications/ Intergovernmental Relations Director
512.393.8105 mmillecam@sanmarcostx.gov

Horseshoe Bay – Technology in the Water System

SAMCO, a Leak Detection/GPS Services Company, has been hired by the City of Horseshoe Bay to conduct a Leak Detection Survey and perform GPS Services within the Horseshoe Bay city limits.  The employees of SAMCO will be wearing orange vests and driving SAMCO trucks. They will commence their activities on June 23rd, and will start in the area of High Circle West and Highway 2147 (and eventually continue through the entire Horseshoe Bay community).

Employees of SAMCO will be utilizing sophisticated equipment to listen on water meters, valves, fire hydrants, and on the ground surface to determine if an underground water leak is present. The electronic leak detection equipment receives and processes unique leak sounds (water escaping the pipe).  Benefits of Leak Detection and Repair include:  conservation of valuable water resources, cost-savings through reduction of treated water that is lost to leaks, reduced property damage from decreased water main breaks, and reduced risk of the leak process contaminating the water system.

In addition to Leak Detection, SAMCO employees will also be using GPS devices to accurately locate and identify valves and fire hydrants, so that these water system appurtenances may be readily located under emergency conditions.  GPS – Global Positioning System – uses satellites and GPS (ground) receivers to identify locations on the surface of the earth, and this electronic data is then transferred to the city’s GIS (Geographic Information System); i.e., hardware and software used for electronic mapping of water and wastewater systems.  These valve and hydrant locations can be easily retrieved from the city’s GIS, instead of attempting to rely on the knowledge of a city employee that retired last year.

In Fiscal Year 2008, the City of Horseshoe Bay Mayor and City Council approved the Leak Detection / GPS Services contract with SAMCO, with the goal of completing this project (evaluation of entire water system) over the next two – three years.  Subsequently, the City of Horseshoe Bay continues to be a leader in utilizing technology to solve problems, enhance efficiency, and maintain cost-effectiveness for its Residents.