Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Denzel and Snipe Get on Trail of Leaking Water

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Denzel and Snipe Get on Trail of Leaking Water

Article excerpt

Byline: TONY HENDERSON @Hendrover

DOGGED determination is being shown by Northumbrian Water when it comes to the battle against leakage - as well as innovative methods which are out of this world.

They have teamed up with Suez UK and satellite experts Utilis to use the same outer space technology which helps find water on other planets by focusing satellites on a stretch of the company's network in County Durham and rural Northumberland. A report last summer by the Consumer Council for Water showed overall national leakage levels rose by 1.5 per cent in 2017/18 to 3,170 million litres per day.

The satellites, which can capture detailed images covering 3,500 square km at once, will analyse the imagery to detect leaks and unusual amounts of water on the networks and pinpoint them to a team of leakage technicians.

But the company is also employing a more down to earth method of detecting leaks.

It is using Denzel, a three-year-old old springer spaniel, to help sniff out leaks on the pipe network.

His handlers are Luke Jones and Ross Stephenson, from pest control company CAPE SPC, which uses sniffer dogs.

Both ex-military dog trainers, they have trained Denzel and colleague two-year-old cocker spaniel Snipe to recognise the tiniest traces of chlorine used to disinfect water supplies. Denzel searches land where water pipes are laid and when he thinks he's picked up the scent of a leak he alerts his handlers and the detection teams and they can investigate.

Northumbrian Water network performance specialist Joe Butterfield said: "We are excited to have Denzel as part of the team at Northumbrian Water and can't wait to see what he can do. We've seen so many stories where working and searching dogs have produced results for the likes of the police and the military that it would be foolish not to give this a try, and to see if the technique can be applied to our supply area. …

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