Leak-detection surveys save water, money for Cranberry
In the late 1990s, Cranberry lost about 15 percent of its water to leaks.
Today, the township loses about 5 percent.
Township officials aggressively search for leaks by listening for them, and they'll conduct their annual fall survey until Oct. 18.
The township conducts a second survey each spring.
“This saves hundreds of thousands of dollars and millions of gallons of water each year,” said Joseph Leavens, manager of the township's sewer and water operations.
Checking for leaks is labor intensive. Leavens and his crew spend about six weeks each year doing it.
“The spring and fall are the best time to listen for leaks,” he said.
“You can't do it if it's raining. You can't do it if there's a lot of wind because you will not be able to hear anything.”
The crews use sonic equipment to listen at main, live valves and at the township's 1,100 fire hydrants.
“Most of Cranberry's water system is duct line or cast iron. They transmit the sound of a water leak very well,” Leavens said.
If crews hear the sound of a water leak, they determine whether the leak is on township or private property. Property owners are notified and are given several weeks to fix the leak.
“Fixing a leak is not optional. All ratepayers pay for leaks,” Leavens said.
During the past five years, township workers have discovered about 30 leaks.
Cranberry gets its water from the West View Water Authority.
The township uses about 880 million gallons of water each year.
According to the United States Geological Survey, domestic water use in the United States is 29.4 billion gallons per day.
Average domestic water use per person is 98 gallons per day.
Water loss is greater in older water systems than in a modern system like Cranberry's, said John Brosious, deputy director of the Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association.
“You see much more loss in older systems,” he said.
“You are losing a product you have already put money into by treating it. Lost water is reflected in bills and water rates.”
Water leaks also can be a public safety issue, he said.
“Any time you have leaks, you run the risk of sinkholes and other collapses,” he said.
Leaking water also damages pavement, causes icing problems and damages utilities, said Ed Osann, team leader for water efficiency at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“Utilities need to be more proactive about stopping leaks. Lots of utilities in the northeast and Midwest have substantial water losses. There are utilities in Pennsylvania that are losing 25 or 30 percent of their water,” he said.
Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cranberry woman robbed at gunpoint at apartment complex
- Butler man’s death ruled an accident
- Families still flock to Big Butler Fair
- Fate of Zelienople senior center still murky
- Part-time dispatchers hired to handle Butler police calls
- PennDOT considers new option for Ball’s Bend
- Butler County officials apply for grant to combat overdoses
- Mysterious coin donor again helps cover cost of Zelienople fireworks