Consolidated Utility District breaks through as first in state with innovative technology

Consolidated Utility District of Rutherford County operates over 1,300 miles of water distribution lines that provide over 3.5 billion gallons of water annually to 45,000 customers.

With numbers such as this, managing the infrastructure is a monumental task.

CUDRC is at the leading edge of water conservation management, and is one of the few utility districts in the nation to utilize infrared leak detection technology.

“We are excited to explore this innovative technology to improve our services in Rutherford County. We feel that these methods will help reduce water loss and conserve local water supplies,” CUDRC General Manager Bill Dunnill said.

Typically, leak detection is performed by deploying zone-metering technology to identify areas of interest, and then using acoustic listening devices to locate leaks along the distribution lines.

The latter is a labor-intensive task that involves walking over the underground lines and listening for the sounds of possible leaks. Unfortunately, not all leaks can be detected with this approach. Background leaks are not always audible, and the leak can run indefinitely because the water seeps into the ground below. Background leaks do not affect CUDRC’s ability to deliver water to their customers, but they do increase water production costs, and in turn cause higher water bills.

In response, CUDRC has contracted with EnTech Engineering to employ military grade technology to combat background leakage. This technology uses an infrared camera to locate surface temperature variations, which are indicative of problematic leaks.

The first phase of this pilot project will cover approximately 60 miles of pipeline, with an average of 10 miles surveyed each day. By using EnTech’s van mounted EnSite V technology, CUDRC will be able to more accurately identify areas of concern. This will allow CUDRC to explore the issues with other technology, or excavate the line for verification and repairs.

CUDRC is the only water district in the state to use this technology, and remains committed to providing outstanding service to their customers while conserving natural resources.

For more information on the innovative techniques from CUDRC and their services to the community, visit www.cudrc.com.

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