PipeScreen™ Service Line Analyzer Helps Severn Trent to Identify Lead Pipes
Acoustic lead screening, while new, is based on a proven technology that can be used to help water utilities protect the public from lead exposure and meet industry standards. Given the serious health risks associated with lead exposure, finding a solution that is non-disruptive and delivers quick insights, will provide utilities with a viable solution to analyze lead service lines as quickly as possible.
How does acoustic service line analysis work?
Two acoustic sensors are used to ‘bracket’ the portion of the supply line to be screened for pipe material, with one placed on the external stop tap and another sensor placed on the internal stop tap (sometimes referred to as stopcock or stop valve). In some cases, the second sensor can be placed outside a customer’s residence, such as on an external customer meter, eliminating the need for operators to enter the home. An acoustic signal is then sent through the pipe and recorded and analysed by Echologics’ PipeScreen™ Service Line Analyzer and the Sentryx™ Water Intelligence platform. Using automated algorithms to analyze multiple acoustic features, the software can screen the pipe material within minutes. The data is automatically uploaded to the Sentryx online platform, a cloud application that provides immediate access to the data from any connected device.
In action at Severn Trent Water
Severn Trent Water (STW) actively manages lead plumbosolvency and by March 2025, the company plans to replace the lead supply pipes of up to 25,000 customers.
While STW knows where many of the lead supply pipes are located, these are customer owned and maintained so there are some locations where lead pipes may exist that it does not have records for. Traditional examinations can sometimes mistake copper for lead and finding a good pipe when digging can be a disruptive mistake that water companies want to avoid. Before going ahead with a supply pipe replacement STW wants to be certain that it is a lead pipe so that lead pipe replacement funding goes where it is most needed.
The company has been actively seeking out innovative technologies to address this issue. In January 2022 it engaged in a research program with Echologics to trial the PipeScreen Service Line Analyzer that can non-invasively determine if a water service line contains lead. Over 40 service pipes were tested, each taking between 15 to 20 minutes. STW validated 72% of the pipes by excavation or potholing. The results of the comparison between PipeScreen results and validations were impressive with 0% false negatives, 0 % false positives and 2.5% inconclusive tests, accurately identifying the correct type of supply pipe material. The 2.5% inconclusive were characterised by the analyzer as mixed material and validations confirmed that there was a mix of lead and another material in the tested service line.
Richard Brant, Green Recovery Subject Matter Expert at Severn Trent, said, “Taking inventory on lead service pipes is challenging, especially in parts of the country where the majority of houses were built over 50 years ago. Acoustic lead supply pipe detection is a game changer in making it quick and easy for us to find these pipes with certainty.”
To sign up for information about PipeScreen Service Line Analyzer
Mueller is Proud to Showcase the Pratt® State-of-the-art Manufacturing Facility
Since 1901, Pratt's journey from humble origins to our state-of-the-art Kimball, Tennessee facility reflects our unwavering commitment to innovation, quality, and unmatched performance. Join us in shaping tomorrow's flow.
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Oregon Water District Experiences 300% Faster Meter Readings with Modular AMR
Oregon’s West Slope Water District serves 10,300 residents and has only three personnel. Finding ways to improve operational efficiencies can have a big impact. A few years ago, the District installed an Automated Meter Reading (AMR) System, but some of the units were failing, making it a good time to look at other options.
AMR Systems consist of a water meter, radio transmitter, radio receiver, and reading software. The solution that West Slope installed had the meter and radio transmitter combined, so the radio transmitter was integrated within the meter itself. One of the drawbacks of an integrated water meter and radio is that the radio transmission is 12-36 inches underground. West Slope gets a lot of rain making it common for meter boxes to have water inside much of the year. Two of the variables that effect radio propagation are metal and water.
The integrated radio when combined with water in the meter box, forced West Slope crews to drive every street slowly, and to even stop at many customers to either wait, or access the property for meter reads to come into the reading software. This made monthly meter reading very time consuming.
Over the past few years, West Slope has been replacing old meters when they fail with the Mueller Systems® modular AMR System. The AMR migratable radio antenna is separate from the register, connected via an industry standard inline Nicor connector. It is installed high in the meter pit, above most, if not all, water that may be in the meter box. This placement ensures a stronger signal for meter reads. These new Mueller Systems radios provide efficient, long-range two-way communication. LoRa—short for long range--is resistant to most interference in the 900 MHz band ensuring readings is reliable. This allows utilities to drive every other street and drive at the posted speed limit.
West Slope’s meters are now roughly half of the old and half of the new, providing an excellent opportunity to compare read times and get hard data on efficiencies. At the start of 2023, under wet conditions, West Slope completed a timed study of meter reads. Below are the findings:
Daniel Gridinar, Operations Manager for West Slope Water District, said “When adjusting for the number of meters read, the new Modular AMR system is over three times faster than the older meters, which is a significant time saving that allows our crews to attend to other tasks. The new radios are also easier to install and being modular means we can more easily maintain our AMR system.”
For more information on Mueller Systems metering solutions
Q&A on Using HYMAX® Pro Dedicated Couplings to Join Pipes on New Construction Projects
The HYMAX® Pro is a unique dedicated coupling designed to join the same diameter pipes without welding or special pipe fittings. This coupling is used in new construction projects and a variety of other applications, including, penstocks, irrigation, and industrial pipelines. Below are answers to commonly asked questions.
Q: What are the maximum and minimum allowable pipe sizes for these dedicated couplings?
A: They are available in nominal diameters from 4 to 24 inches. The 4 to 10 inch sizes feature an industry-first, two-bolt, stab-fit construction. The 12 to 24 inch have 4 top-facing bolts. Most couplings available in the market today need to be disassembled before they are installed. The HYMAX Pro coupling is designed to be installed onto the pipe and tightened to seal without disassembly and reassembly. This makes it easier and faster to install since bolts and end rings do not need to be loosened or removed. It also eliminates the possibility of components being dropped or lost. The bolts are pre-lubricated with a mag (molecular anti-galling) dry coating, so there is no need to lubricate the bolts, while also adding extra corrosion resistance.
Q: What types of pipe are commonly used in new construction and is the HYMAX Pro coupling compatible with these pipe materials to achieve a secure pipe connection?
A: Today, the most common pipes in new construction projects use ductile iron or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) for water distribution systems, but in some industries or applications, steel and HDPE (polyethylene) are also very common. This coupling is designed for use with all these pipe materials, and more. It also has a hydraulically assisted gasket that allows flexible angular deflection of up to 4° on either side of the coupling during installation, as well as dynamic deflection of 4° post-installation. This feature enables high quality sealing even under unstable ground conditions and temperature fluctuations, reducing the risk of future breaks.
Q: Do you have any tips or recommendations for installation of the coupling?
A: As with any pipeline project proper anchorage and restraint of the pipes is required for a proper installation; the HYMAX Pro does not restrain axial pipe movement. Additionally make sure the pipes are properly supported. Any well-designed piping system will take these factors, and more, into account. When joining any two pipes; clean and descale the pipe, mark the pipe, position the coupling for installation, stab it onto the pipe, and tighten the bolts with a torque wrench.
Q: What is the maximum pressure rating for this dedicated size couplings?
A: The working pressure for the 4 to 14 inch couplings is 300 psi and the test pressure is 450 psi. The 16 to 24 inch is 250 psi for working pressure and 375 psi for test pressure. Testing the pipe for leaks, pressure, flow, and alignment before the trench is closed is key for any successful installation.
Q: Are there any special considerations or limitations when using the coupling in high-velocity flow systems or areas with high vibration?
A: No, it’s designed to handle most waterworks application. With the opening and closing of pumps and valves, it’s not uncommon for there to be surges in the piping system. The HYMAX Pro coupling has a hydraulically assisted gasket with two-stage sealing: mechanical sealing that is effective under vacuum or non-pressure. The self-inflating gasket enables it to handle high-velocity pressure and transients.
Q: What certifications or approvals do the dedicated size couplings have from relevant regulatory bodies or standards organizations?
A: All HYMAX Pro couplings conform to the AWWA C219, AWWA C213, NSF 61, and NSF 372 standards for drinking water system components.
Q: Are the couplings resistant to corrosion and chemicals commonly found in water systems?
A: Yes, because of our long-standing history in the water industry, we use Grade 304 stainless steel hardware, and fusion-bonded epoxy coating as our standard to protect against corrosion.
Q: What is the expected service life of the couplings under normal operating conditions?
A: HYMAX Pro couplings come with a two year limited warranty. Having said that, I installed couplings in the 1970’s that are still in service today, but it really depends on a variety of factors, including the installation and soil conditions, for example. Properly installed for the appropriate application, our HYMAX Pro coupling is built and designed for many years of use.
For more information on the HYMAX Pro Dedicated Coupling
Water World Interviews Mueller Experts at WEFTEC
Mueller experts discuss some of the latest products including the Pratt® P77 Perimeter Seated Bi-Directional Knife Gate Valve built to handle industrial applications and the HYMAX® Versa Wrap Around Coupling, a multi-purpose solution for either joining or repairing pipes. Paul Gifford shares how Mueller is positioned to help water utilities with BABA compliance.
Mueller talks new innovations at WEFTEC 2023
Mueller Talks with Water Online About Local Manufacturing
In this episode of Water Talk, Angela Godwin sits down with Paul Gifford from Mueller Water Products. Paul shares some of the challenges that customers are facing today with aging infrastructure, retiring workforce and financial constraints, and how Mueller can help address some of these challenges.
Mueller Trained Close to 3,000 Customers in North America in 2023
One of our favorite things to do at Mueller is meet with our customers! This year we had close to three hundred distributor representatives from 25 states and four Canadian provinces come to our training course. Most classes were held at the Mueller Training & Collaboration Centre in Chattanooga, and there was also a class held in Atlanta and via Zoom. In addition, our mobile training team conducted 39 classes across seven Southeastern states, reaching close to 2,700 water operators. Big thanks to our training team, George Lacefield, Jarred King and Camden Welsh for another successful year!
In 2024 the Mueller mobile training school will be touring the US Westcoast. Attendees will learn about product selection, installation, operation, and maintenance in a fun and relaxed, hands-on learning environment. Class topics include hydrants, valves, leak detection, pressure management, service brass, drilling and tapping machines, pipe repair, hydrant security and more. Instructors are highly experienced water industry professionals, and the curriculum is approved for Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
If you are on the Westcoast and would like to take one of these free classes, please contact your Mueller Territory Manager.
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Introducing the Pratt® P77 Perimeter Seated Bi-Directional Knife Gate Valve
The Pratt® P77 Perimeter Seated Bi-Directional Knife Gate Valve is designed to handle tough slurries and abrasive materials, and meets the rigorous MSS SP-81 standards making it an excellent valve for industrial applications.
Dale Speggen, VP of Specialty Valves for Mueller, stated, "The Pratt P77 Perimeter Seated Bi-Directional Knife Gate Valve is an industry game-changer. With its sealing capabilities and its ability to reduce stress on the packing chamber, the P77 ensures reliable and efficient operation. We are proud to offer this valve, which sets a new standard for performance and reliability."
The P77 Knife Gate Valve has superb sealing capabilities, ensuring a drip-tight shutoff, and preventing the buildup of solids, regardless of line pressure. The valve is designed to eliminate any confusion regarding the direction of isolation, providing clarity and ease of use in demanding industrial environments.
The P77 Knife Gate Valve is designed with multiple rows of packing to reduce stress on the packing chamber, enhancing the longevity and reliability of the valve. The integrated PTFE gate guide reduces wear on the packing, preventing blockages and flow disruptions with its non-stick properties.
Featuring an EPDM perimeter cartridge seat, the P77 Knife Gate Valve resists chemicals and high temperatures while preventing leakage and protecting downstream equipment. By reducing leak paths and extending the life of the packing, this valve minimizes maintenance requirements and ensures smooth operation.
The heavy-duty cast stainless steel body is resistant to deflection from line loads and internal pressure, further enhancing the valve's performance and longevity. The P77 Perimeter Seated Bi-Directional Knife Gate Valve has applications across various industries, including pulp and paper, mining, water and wastewater, and food and beverage.
For more information on Pratt P77 Knife Gate Valve