Even before “Go Live” milestone reached, Aquify sensors discovered a large undetected leak.
Aquify, an Exelon company, announced today that the Village of Skokie, Illinois is now leveraging the resources of one of the nation’s largest energy companies to monitor the community’s drinking water infrastructure 24/7 with smart water technology and advanced analytics.
Immediate Detection of a Leak
As soon as sensors were being installed and began transmitting data, Aquify noticed immediately that there was a significant increase in flow in a specific section of the system. Skokie’s crew went out to the area but couldn’t find visible signs of a water main break. Trusting the data, crews started opening manholes and found one with a 500 gallon per minute rush of water pushing through to their storm sewer at one of Skokie’s busiest intersections. Repairing the leak saved considerable water loss and money for the Village. It is likely that this leak would have gone undetected for many months. Had it continued for 6 months, the cost of the water loss alone (not including water treatment and energy costs for water pumping) would have well exceeded the cost of the first year of Aquify service.
A Complete System
Skokie’s new system with Aquify includes 36 flow and pressure sensors, artificial intelligence analytics software and a 24/7 professionally staffed control room that is now monitoring the water system in real time to identify threats, leaks and maintenance needs. It’s all part of a strategy by the Village to reduce and avoid unnecessary water loss, increase operational efficiency, and ensure affordable water costs for Skokie residents and businesses.
Speaking to the rationale for this new partnership, Max Slankard, Director of Public Works, provided two key motivators. “Cost savings by reducing water loss is the primary driver. The Village has been engaged in a number of loss control measures for a few years, but this represents an opportunity to do something new and innovative in identifying water leaks in a much more timely manner,” he said. “We also know there are emerging regulatory requirements about water loss. Ultimately, we expect there will be penalties for water systems that don’t do a better job of minimizing water loss and we want to get ahead of that.”
“The team at the Village have been terrific partners as we worked collaboratively to build and install this network of sensors and our analytics capabilities for Skokie,” said Lev Goldberg, CEO and Co-Founder of Aquify. “I’m proud of the system we’ve designed that will reduce costs, enhance sustainability, and provide previously unavailable insight into the operational effectiveness of the Village’s drinking water distribution network.”
Skokie uses about 2.75 billion gallons of drinking water annually that is purchased from Evanston. Because the water is sourced from Lake Michigan, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources manages a tight, and increasingly restrictive allocation to permittees like Skokie. This means that utilities can no longer afford to waste water to addressable leaks and breaks in the network. It is projected the new Aquify system will save the village 150 to 200 million gallons of water annually.
Skokie sign Photo credit: https://foursquare.com/v/skokie-illinois/51a4fb17498ee67da63c688f
Fountain Photo credit: By Thestraycat57 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35003244