Leak Detection Study Reduces Water Loss in Romulus, Michigan

Projects | January 10, 2023


A photo of three Benesch employees in the field checking sewer for leaks with microphone

ROMULUS, MI – After discovering they were experiencing 40% water loss, the City of Romulus needed to quickly identify the cause. They engaged Benesch to conduct an extensive leak detection study covering 241 miles of watermain. As a result of the study, the city has been able to repair the leaks and drastically reduce the amount of water lost.

In addition to wasting water, system leaks have the potential to reduce water pressure for community members and lead to bacteria growth and contamination. Swift detection and repair were vital for the maintenance of the Detroit suburb’s water system.

“Once we started surveying, we quickly identified 8–12-inch leaks causing massive water loss for the city,” said Project Engineer Sydney Szeles. “With each leak we detected, the Department of Public Works was able to come in almost immediately and work on repairs. The client was actually able to see consumption dropping in real time as we progressed through the study.”

The leaks were detected using a microphone that amplified the sound of running water. With Romulus being home to the Detroit Metro Airport, the Benesch team was challenged to work around both air and ground traffic noise. Despite these challenges, the study was completed in four months with “pin-point accuracy” according to the client.

The City of Romulus went from roughly 6.0 MGD usage to 4.5 MGD, saving the city an average of about 25% (dependent on the season and other factors).