Council’s leak detection team shows dogged determination

Central Coast Council has recruited a crack team trained by Sydney Water to sniff out leakages in its water and sewer network.

A member of the leak detection team hard at work (image supplied)

The team, comprised of Springer Spaniels Joey and Hydro and Winnie the Cocker Spaniel, was put to work earlier this month hunting out leaks over 25 kilometres of water mains and 10km of sewer mains across the region.

They managed to detect five water leaks and one sewer leak over over five days.

Central Coast is the latest council to use the canine leak detection experts, which were trained and first trialed by Sydney Water in 2020 as reported by Government News.

The council says the dog squad was able to find leaks that were undetectable to humans and led council officers to the precise location of the defect by following the scent.

Rectification works will take place over the coming weeks.

Economic and environmental benefits

Central Coast’s director for water and sewer Jamie Loader says using the dogs will result in economic and environmental benefits.

“The dogs will help us detect leaks before they become more problematic breaks,” Mr Loader said.

“This is really beneficial, as once a break occurs, it can be vastly more disruptive to the public, causing more damage, take longer and costing more to repair.

“The leak detection dogs are a proven technique for detecting water and sewer leaks and will be another tool at our disposal enhancing our Leak Detection Program.”

Central Coast Council Water and Sewer is also developing a strategy that aims to minimise dry weather sewer overflows via innovative programs and technology, and the leak detection dogs will be one part of that program as well.

$14m in savings

Sydney Water Dog Detection Trainer Nicole Harvey says the water leak detection dog program has located 354 leaks across the Sydney Network.

“The wastewater leak detection dogs have saved Sydney Water $14 million and have located leaks up to six metres underground,” she said.

Central Coast  is working towards engaging with Sydney Water and the detection dogs on a reoccurring basis, CEO David Farmer says.

“To watch how Joey, Hydro and Winnie, operated on the job was fantastic and quite an experience,” Mr Farmer said.

“Learning innovative, proven strategies from other water authorities demonstrates Council’s proactivity in seeking new ways to provide the Central Coast with a cost-efficient and sustainable water future.”

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