How Much is Your Leaky Water Infrastructure Really Costing You?

Posted by Rob Horvat on Monday, July 15, 2019

Water Glass Leaking Money
Reduce non-revenue water in your distribution system by 50%!
Eliminate an entire shift at your plant!
Cut $2,000 a month from your energy bills!
Reduce WTP output by 500,000 gpd!

If any of your proposed water system projects promised results like those above, you’d move forward with them immediately, right?
No question.

But the reality is that you usually cannot fully quantify the savings until a year after a water project is completed and the money is already spent. The reality is that usually these savings are not guaranteed, just estimated.

So how do you justify moving forward with any maintenance projects that carry no guarantee of success?

A few of our recent projects have us reassessing how we help our clients prioritize their projects, particularly ones that promise to reduce water loss. Ironically, none of these projects had a primary goal of impacting water loss, and all of the projects had been deferred due to a number of factors, like the available budget, difficult site conditions, operational challenges, and PennDOT implications. Yet all three projects had measurable positive impacts not only on reducing water loss, but providing three water authorities in Pennsylvania with big financial and operational benefits.

  • In Western PA, the SR6 Waterline Replacement included 8,670 LF of 12” DIP pipe, along with 1,000 LF of 4, 6, and 8” DIP pipe, a number of hydrants, and 74 service connections, prompted by a PennDOT resurfacing project. The non-revenue water dropped from 60% of production to about 10% to 15% after construction.
  • The Milfred Terrace Reservoir Improvements consisted of a 2.0 MG reservoir built in the 1950s with a floating cover, tile floor, and suspected leaks. Upon completion of the tank rehabilitation, which also included a new mixing system, this client saw a total energy savings of $2,000 per month, along with operational reductions in chemical treatment costs, plus the elimination of an entire shift at the plant.
  • The SR18 Waterline Replacement came about due to a PennDOT resurfacing project. During the replacement of 3,000’ of pipe with new 12” PVC pipe, the contractor often commented on the sandy “wet” soil they were working in, evidence of the numerous leaks in the old line. As a result of this pipe replacement, our client reduced water production by 500,000 gallons per day.

presentation title slide

To learn more about the project costs and overall savings, check out Making a Dramatic Impact on Water Loss, which I presented at the 2019 PA-AWWA Conference. And contact me to find out if your leaky infrastructure could lead to dramatic cost savings of your own.

Authored by:

Rob Horvat, PE Photo

Rob Horvat, PE

project manager

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Categories: Municipal Infrastructure

Tagged: Potable Water  |  Budgeting & Funding  |  Engineering

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