A property management firm had been informed by their local water utility they were consuming 2 million gallons of water each month and their water was going to be shut off if the problem could not be located and corrected.
Extreme winter conditions of pouring rain, snow and freezing temperatures over the three-day job did not help matters any. The property itself was a daunting one- there were more than 100 cabins and 7 miles of buried water lines dating back to 1965. The property’s ownership had changed hands, so current owners were unaware exactly where the lines were buried. With no maps to use as resources, Deel said the team had to start from the beginning.
“Management arranged to have a crew with us so we could enter cabins and close valves when necessary to try and isolate different areas,” Deel said. “We found that about 20 gallons per minute was flowing upstream due to a shower valve being open in one of the cabins.”
Now they had a starting point. After using a correlator and pressure testing lines, they were able to learn three additional cabins were tied into the main pipe. An in-ground valve was turned off each evening in order to monitor water flow through the main water meter. Very little water was flowing through the meter to the cabins above, so they tried opening the in-ground valve to find that 100 gallons was metering every 2:45, or causing about 36 gallons per minute to leak. They had found the source.
After excavating near the creek, Deel was able to distinguish an acoustic leak signal measuring 6 feet deep. The culprit was a 3-inch PVC pipe with a crack in the cap.
“Their men had been chasing it for 6 weeks and they were getting desperate,” Deel said. “This one felt like a wild goose chase. We used every tool we had and I was tickled to death when we finally found it. We were all high-fiving.”
Jeff Deel has owned and operated American Leak Detection of East Tennessee’s team of four trucks since 2004. For more information, visit http://www.americanleakdetection.com/tn-knoxville/residential-service