New Company Helps Water Authorities Identify and Pinpoint Leaks in Underground Infrastructure
Technologies lead to greater operational efficiency and environmental responsibility
SELINSGROVE, Pa. – Every day, U.S. water distribution systems lose approximately six billion gallons of clean, treated drinking water, much of that due to undetected leaks in aging, underground infrastructure. In total, U.S. water authorities lose more than two trillion gallons of water annually that they pump and treat but which never reach an end user. 1
A new company is helping water utilities find and pinpoint leaks in their distribution networks within a foot of the source, without having to dig large trenches or disrupt service to customers.
FlowNetworx, www.flownetworx.com, offers leak detection, leak pinpointing and water-pressure control technologies and expertise to help utilities stem revenue loss, lower operating costs and improve their environmental stewardship. The company is an affiliate of LB Water Service, Inc., a leading distributor of waterworks infrastructure products in the Mid-Atlantic region. FlowNextworx specializes in water-loss management, data collection and hosting, and wastewater metering and monitoring.
“What county, municipal and private water authorities don’t know about the hidden leaks in their distribution systems is hurting them,” said Shawn Pulford, president and chief executive officer of FlowNetworx. “Lost water is costing utilities a lot of money. It’s affecting their ability to comply with increasing environmental regulations, it’s affecting the efficiency of their operations, and it’s harming their bottom lines. We can help them address all of those issues.”
By finding and fixing leaks soon after they occur, water authorities can reduce their demands on rivers, streams, and aquifers, helping to slow what studies have shown to be a gradual lowering of the nation’s water table over the last two decades. A 2015 analysis by USA Today and The Desert Sun based on U.S. Geological Survey data of more than 32,000 wells nationwide over a 20-year period showed that water levels declined in 64 percent of the wells in the database. The findings also showed that, even in parts of the country where rainfall and snowmelt have helped to offset pumping from aquifers, there have been significant declines, including in traditionally “wet” states such as New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Florida.2
“When a utility is losing 20 or 30 percent of the water it’s processing – a statistic that, until recently, was considered to be acceptable in the waterworks industry, that utility is pumping, treating and transporting a lot of excess water just to be able to keep up with customer demand,” said John Brutz, general manager for FlowNetworx. “Over time, that can lead not only to huge operational inefficiencies but also significant environmental impacts.”
First with LB Water and now with FlowNetworx, Brutz and his “leak team” have worked with multiple counties, municipalities and private water authorities to help the water providers identify the problem areas in their distribution systems. According to Brutz, utilities are aware that they’re losing water, but many have little idea as to exactly how much, or from where, until information gleaned from leak-detection and pinpointing technologies shows them.
“One Pennsylvania municipality we’re working with was shocked to discover it was losing 82 percent of the water it processed,” said Brutz.
Nearly all of the technology FlowNetworx offers is manufactured by Milford, Ohio-based Fluid Conservation Systems, the North American leader in water leak detection, water network monitoring, and energy management solutions. Products include data loggers and correlators, ground microphones and water pressure modulation equipment as well as the company’s modular communications platform, OmniColl, and cloud-based hosting software, DataGate. With OmniColl and DataGate, counties, municipalities and building management companies can monitor thousands of data points, including water flow, pressure and leakage; temperature; humidity; carbon dioxide levels; electricity and natural gas levels; and other building or city management variables as often as every 15 minutes from any Internet-enabled device.
FlowNetworx is the only authorized provider of Fluid Conservation Systems’ technologies in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Initially, FlowNetworx will focus its efforts primarily in states where its personnel originally began offering water loss management solutions under the LB Water brand, including Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., Ohio, New York, and New Jersey. The company also offers wastewater metering and monitoring technologies and water-flow measuring equipment for district metered areas in these territories.
FlowNetworx officials plan to phase-in most of the company’s offerings in its other contracted markets, including Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.
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1 American Society for Civil Engineers, 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, March 2017.
2James, Ian and Reilly, Steve. “Pumped beyond limits, many U.S. aquifers in decline.” The Desert Sun 10 December 2015.
FlowNetworx is a premier environmental and data solutions provider that works with county, municipal and private water authorities and companies to help them become more efficient, cost effective and environmentally responsible. FlowNetworx focuses on issues involving water-loss management, wastewater metering and monitoring, and data acquisition and hosting. As an affiliate of LB Water, it is a 100-percent employee-owned organization. Visit the FlowNetworx website at www.flownetworx.com.
About LB Water
LB Water is a value-added distributor of waterworks products for the Mid-Atlantic region, including water infrastructure, water-metering technologies, sanitary & storm sewers, and erosion control products. LB Water is a 100-percent, employee-owned company that was voted among the Top 100 Places to Work in Pennsylvania for two consecutive years. Founded in 1970 by Lehman B. Mengel, under the leadership of Jim App, Walt VanNuys, and Bill Everly Sr., the company has continued to expand and currently employs approximately 200 people at eight locations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Visit the LB Water website at www.lbh2o.com.
About Fluid Conservation Systems
FCS, a division of Halma Water Management, is the North American industry leader in water leak detection technology. FCS was the first organization to patent leak correlation technology, and today its products are installed with over 1,000 utilities throughout the United States. FCS and HWM offer the products and services of four well-established brands: Palmer Environmental, Radcom Technologies, Radio-Tech and Fluid Conservation Systems. Visit the FCS website at www.fluidconservation.com
FCS is part of the Halma group of companies. Halma makes products for hazard detection and life protection and is a market leader in specialist electronic, safety and environmental technologies. Visit the Halma web site at www.halma.com.