Pressure transient loggers resolve burst water mains mystery in County Kilkenny

PTLs identify pressure reducing valve as the culprit

Pressure Transient Loggers (PTLs) from multi-utility monitoring and telemetry specialist HWM have been employed to solve the problem of repeated water main bursts in County Kilkenny, Ireland.

EMR Integrated Solutions and Kilkenny County Council (KCC) set up a pilot scheme to investigate the advantages of deploying PTLs on water distribution networks on a permanent basis. EMR and KCC installed two HWM PTLs on the network in South Kilkenny, at Owning and Piltown.

The selected section of the network had been prone to occasional bursts. The traditional course of action was to repair the pipeline until funding was made available to replace the pipeline completely.

Both PTLs were located upstream of a pressure reducing valve (PRV) and connected to hydrants for the duration of the pilot. The PTLs were totally enclosed in the hydrant chambers, communicating via GPRS. Agnostic SIMs allowed for automatic best-network selection for data transmission. HWM’s free programming software enabled engineers to carry out a GPRS test directly from the logger in the chamber.

Following a burst, EMR retrieved data from the nearest PTL, three kilometres from the burst location. Analysis of the data showed two transient notifications occurring on a daily basis at 5:04 and 23:10. There were also multiple transient notifications that coincided with the burst on the pipeline.

After the burst repair was carried out, EMR installed a second PTL closer to the burst location. The two transient notifications still occurred on a daily basis at the same times, while the pressure transient events were dramatically larger than the original transient recording.

EMR investigated further with council staff and discovered that the local PRV, which was installed to conserve water, was actually causing the pressure transients. The PRV had a day / night controller set to operate daily at 5:00 and 23:00.