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1996 - UFW - Florida 9602

1996 - UFW - Florida 9602

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FLORIDA WATER RESOURCES JOURNALFEBRUARY 1996
3
ost people consider unaccounted-for water andleakage to be the same thing. They are not.Leakage is a part, and sometimes a large part,of unaccounted-for water, but it is just one pieceof the puzzle.Unaccounted-for water is the difference between the amountof water produced, or purchased, and the amount of water soldto all customers. Unaccounted-for water includes undergroundleakage; unauthorized use; unavoidable leakage, inaccuratemaster, industrial, commercial and domestic meters; andunusual causes.To properly determine an unaccounted-for water percent-age for a municipality, a running total of water billed versuswater pumped needs to be prepared. A one-month balance isnot effective because billing cycles often don’t occur simulta-neously. A twelve-month running total not only balances outany problems with different billing cycles, it also allows you totrack trends to see if the unaccounted-for rate is changing.
Puzzle Piece #1Underground Leakage
The first piece of the unaccounted-for puzzle is undergroundleakage. Among the causes of underground leakage are age othe pipe, soil conditions, frost upheaval, traffic loadings, pipemovement, poor installation practices, and electrolysis.The two major problems for controlling leakage are listen-ing surveys and water audits. Each program has its ownbenefits and drawbacks.
 Listening Surveys
A listening survey is conducted by listening for leaks. Whena pipe is leaking water, the water passing through the pipe setsup a vibration in the pipe. The noise that the pipe makes iswhat is traced during a listening survey, not the noise of thewater itself. Sound intensifying instrument, either electronicor mechanical, are used to locate leaks in a listening survey. Itcan be difficult to locate leaks in PVC pipe because it doesn’thave the mass to vibrate that cast iron or ductile pipe has.During a listening survey, different parts of the system arechecked for indications of leakage. Fire hydrants, valves,services, and other connections are checked for leak noises.Also, the ground above water mains needs to be checked.Different types of instruments are used during a listeningsurvey. Geophones are a mechanical instrument with one veryreal advantage—no batteries to run down. Electronic leak detectors have the advantage of having filters to help filter outextraneous noises and meters to show the strength of the noisebeing investigated.A leak correlator is a third type of instrument used inlistening surveys. A leak correlator works by using two micro-phones to pick up and transmit sound to the correlator unit.The correlator unit analyzes the sound and determines thelocation of the leak. A leak correlator is expensive, and noinstrument will find all leaks.All sound intensifying instruments are only as good as theperson using them. Leak detection is an art, not a science.
Unaccounted-For Water Puzzle:More Than Just Leakage
Paul V. Johnson
There are problems with listening surveys. Certain condi-tions can give false leak indications. Valves have more mass tovibrate and can sound like a leak. If a hole is backfilled witha material different from what was originally in place, the newmaterial may conductsound better and givea false leak indication.You can also have si-lent leaks caused byabandoned services,waterbound leaks,river crossings, rail-road crossings, pipespassing through sew-ers or sewer manholes,and leaks masked bynoise around airportsor highways.A listening survey normally is a fast and fairly inexpensivemethod of locating leakage, but if unaccounted-for water iscaused by something other than leakage, a listening surveywill not locate it.
Water Audits
A more comprehensive type of leakage program is a wateraudit. It accounts for all of the water from where it enters thedistribution system to where it is used. It begins with testingthe master meters and goes on to break the system up intodistricts for measurements, which give you a 24-hour pictureof the flow into each district. That, in turn, allows you todetermine the potential for leakage in each district. You canthen concentrate leakage detection in the areas where the bestlikelihood of finding leakage exists.Districts are set up by using natural boundaries or valveoperations to isolate areas. When measurements are made of the flows in and out of the district over a 24-hour period, thefollowing data can be determined for each district:Total consumption—water used during the 24-hoursMaximum ratehighest rate during 24-hoursMinimum rate—lowest rate during 24-hoursRatio: MNR to TC—helps determine likelihood of leakageMinimum night rate per mile of main—amount of leakagelikely in a district.A MNR to TC ratio higher than 40% usually indicated adistrict with a good potential for leakage, assuming there areano large consumers using water late at night. The minimumnight rate per mile of main gives you an idea of the amount of leakage that might be present. A minimum night rate per mileof main of 5,000 gpd means that you will probably not findmuch in the way of leakage, while 25,000 gpd or higher couldrepresent substantial leakage.Once the district measurements have been completed andthe areas picked for further investigation, subdivision isstarted. Subdivision is a block-by-block measurement of the
 
38 
FLORIDA WATER RESOURCES JOURNALFEBRUARY 1996 
district to locate leakage indications. If the subdivision is doneat night, usage is not expected to be high and anytime a highrate is measured, that area is then checked for leakage thesame way that it is done in a listening survey.The benefits of a water audit are:Training of personnel in a water auditCheck condition of valvesCheck condition of valve boxesCheck condition of hydrantsUpdate maps and recordsThere are benefits to any type of leakage program. For adistribution system using 2.0 mgd with a 20% (400,000 gpd)unaccounted-for rate, if half of the unaccounted-for can berecovered through a leak survey, that means:A. Water for 3,000 new residents @65 gpdB. An additional 1,000 gpm for 3 hours of fire fightingC. Savings on production costs if nothing additionally is doneD. Delay or reduction in size of new facilities
Puzzle Piece #2—InaccurateMaster Meters
It should be obvious that accurate master meters are neededto determine your unaccounted-for water. Some of the thingsthat can cause inaccurate master meters are:Wear—due to quality or quantity of waterImproper installation—turbulenceImproper gearing in register headWrong registerReading errorsEntrained air in the waterJetting action at the meterMaster meters can be tested either by using a comparativemeter tester or an in-line rodmeter. A comparative test meter,if properly sized, can be very accurate, but the test metershould be tested volumetrically before or after each test. Arodmeter used in-line with the master meter allows the meterto be tested at the regular flow rates and does not requireshutting the meter down for testing.
Puzzle Piece #3—InaccurateIndustrial Meters
Industrial meters and master meters have the same prob-lems with inaccuracies. In addition, industrial meters canhave an additional source of error if they are compound metersoperating in the changeover range of the meter. Meter sizing isimportant for industrial meters.
Puzzle Piece #4—InaccurateCommercial Meters
Commercial meters are subject to the same problems thatindustrial meters face. Commercial meters can be more difficultto properly size than industrial meters because they may beusing over a shorter period of time which gives a wider rangebetween peak and low flows through the meter.
Puzzle Piece #5—InaccurateDomestic Meters
Domestic meters have fewer problems than are found withlarger meters, but the problems can be serious. Domesticmeters are subject to wear due to water quantity and quality,improper gearing or wrong registers and reading or billingerrors. Domestic meters are also subject to poor readings atlow flows and a significant amount of the water passingthrough a domestic meter can be at low flows. As much as 2%of a systems unaccounted-for water can be due to under-registration of low flows on domestic meters.
Puzzle Piece #6Unauthorized Use
Unauthorized use is an area often overlooked in trying toreduce unaccounted-for water. Unauthorized use can consistof: Unmetered use by contractors; unauthorized or unmeteredconnections; and theft by bypassing meters.Unauthorized use, especially in older systems, can be one othe most difficult areas to eliminate in trying to reduce unac-counted-for water.
Puzzle Piece #7—Use From Hydrants
The major uses from hydrants include flushing streets andsewers and fire fighting. In some areas, landscaping firms usewater from hydrants for watering new landscaping. Fillingswimming pools is another area where fire hydrants may beused and contribute to unaccounted-for water. Any reasonableestimates made of these uses can help reduce your unac-counted-for water.
Puzzle Piece #8—UnavoidableLeakage
Unavoidable leakage is underground leakage that costsmore to locate and repair than it would to permit it to exist.This definition means that unavoidable leakage can be differ-ent rates in different locations. Present AWWA standards are3,000 gpd per mile of main. This is mainly due to small jointand service leaks that are very difficult to locate at these lowrates of flow.
Puzzle Piece #9Unusual Causes
This final piece of the puzzle is the “catch all” for the thingsthat don’t fit any of the other puzzle pieces. Included in thispiece of the puzzle is: recirculating water—water pumped intoa pressure zone with an open valve which allows the water torecirculate without being consumed; not accounting for treat-ment plant use; estimated pumpage due to inaccurate ornonexistent meters; leakage in reservoirs, ground storagetanks or elevated storage tanks; and unintentional inter-system connections—water passing through unrecorded oremergency connections to other distribution systems.
Summary
Unaccounted-for water is born from poor maintenance andcan die from effective maintenance. In order to put RIP tounaccounted-for water, you need to:
 R
Review what the accounted-for water is in your system
 I 
Identify areas of unaccounted-for water
 P
– Purge the system to remove as much unaccounted-for aspossible and reach acceptable limits.
Paul V. Johnson, P.E. is with The Pitometer Associates, Orlando.
 
FLORIDA WATER RESOURCES JOURNALFEBRUARY 1996
3
he practice of using metallic water piping as part of the grounding system of a building has been commonplace for more than 80 years
[1]
. When grounding tothe water pipes was first implemented, the water industry waspersuaded by the electric utility industry to believe that ground-ing effects were small and out-weighed by concerns for thesafety of mutual customers. Over the years, electrification of society has increased and the validity of the original assump-tions used to persuade the water industry are today question-able. Since 1927 policy statements issued by AWWA opposedto the practice have been periodically issued
[2]
.The objectives of this research were to investigate on anationwide scale the effects of grounding electrical systems towater systems in terms of shock hazards to utility employeesand reduced service live of the pipe due to possible externalcorrosion caused by the current flow. Information on the effectson water quality was gathered from the literature and theparticipating utilities.
Shock Hazard and Grounding
As explained by Warren
[3]
and Waters
[4]
, alternating cur-rents are exchanged along water services and distributionpiping when houses and buildings share electrical transform-ers. If a house or building is served by its own electricaltransformer, then currents are not exchanged via the watersystem. In most populated areas, between 4 and 20 buildingsare served by the same transformer. Meter readers and fieldcrews routinely interact with water meters and service pipingand receive electrical shocks ranging from slight tinglingsensations to permanent and temporary numbness in limbs.The most serious problems occur when the neutral path to aconsumer shared-power transformer is high resistance (open”)and work is performed on the water meter or service. In thissituation, all of the current from the building is returningthrough the water system and this is when the potential for thegreatest danger exists.Statistics have been presented on the rates of occurrenceand fatal accident factors for consumer electrical shock inci-dents in Israel from 1960 to 1969
[5]
. Electrical accidentsinvolving taps and water pipes had the highest rate of occur-rence (24.3% of all accidents) and the third highest rate of mortality (1.4%). “Faulty earthing” (i.e. grounding) ranked No.1 among the seven factors considered and was present in 58%of the fatal accidents in Israel for the nine-year period. Condi-tions and codes in Israel may be different as compared to theUnited States, but the statistics are quite sobering.
Project Approach
In order to assess the magnitude of the problem nationwide,the research program included participation by twenty utili-ties geographically dispersed throughout the U.S. A list of theparticipating utilities is given in Table 1. The participatingutilities include large and small water systems with a range oclimatic conditions, urban and rural situations, and provideda broad basis for comparison and data.The project includes an information gathering phase, in
Effects of Electrical Grounding on Pipe Integrityand Shock HazardA National Survey
Steven J. Duranceau, Graham E.C. Bell, and M.J. Schiff
Table 1. Alphabetical Listing of Participating Utilities
Blacksburg-Christianburg-VPI Water Authority, VACity of Altamonte Springs, FLCity of Cape Coral, FLCity of St. Louis, MODallas Water Utilities, TXDenver Water Department, CODetroit Water and Sewerage Department, MIEast Bay Municipal Utility District, CAIndianapolis Water Company, INIrvine Ranch Water District, CACity of Kansas City, MOL.A. Department of Water and Power, CALouisville Water Company, KYMarin Municipal Water District, CAOmaha Metropolitan Utilities District, NEOnondaga County Water Authority, NYOrange County Public Utilities Division, FLPinellas County Water System, FLTualatin Valley Water District, OR
addition to field and laboratory testing conducted at nineteenof the twenty participating utilities. The information gather-ing phase included a review of the open literature and collec-tion and compilation of the utility internal information. Theutility internal information was collected as part of a mail insurvey of questions which addressed problems associated withshock and corrosion related failures due to grounding andduring the on-site field testing phase.
Utility Survey
A utility survey was developed and distributed to the 20participating utilities. Selected results of the survey related toshock incidents and corrosion are presented in Figure 1 andFigure 2. The results of the utility survey indicated that mostshock incidents occur during meter removal and work onservice piping. This is because the worker is in close electricalcontact with both sides of the meter piping and is standing ina puddle of water, which served to lower the resistance toground of his body.Many of the survey questions dealt with the shock incidentsand shock prevention protocols. Other questions were de-signed to address the incidence of shock on all types of utilitypiping (transmission, distribution and service) including iden-tifying incidents where meters were involved. More than 86%of the utilities have had some shock incident. Eighty-two of the86% of all shock incidents occur during meter removal. Despitethis high level of shock incidents, only 68% have some sort of protocol or procedure for prevention of shock. These resultsindicate that there is a significant incident rate of shock incidents in the water utility industry due to grounding.Additional survey questions asked about the occurrence of distribution main failures due to grounding or unknown straycurrents. Approximately 55% of the participating utilitiessurveyed suspected grounding or stray current as the reasonsfor some of their failures in the previous five years. The results

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