Queensland Urban Utilities has, in a state first, recruited two dogs specially trained to sniff out hidden underground water leaks.
After eight months of rigorous training, Springer Spaniels Halo and Danny have graduated from the program and are ready to take part in a number of trials across Queensland Urban Utilities’ service region.
The dogs will provide an additional method of leak identification, complementing the utility’s other audio and sensor monitoring devices.
“We have more than 9,000 km of water pipes in our network and some of these pipes are located in dense bushland, so it can be difficult to detect a leak,” said Queensland Urban Utilities Spokesperson Michelle Cull.
“Halo and Danny are trained to sniff out the chlorine in potable water and are particularly effective in bushland, where it can be difficult for us to access.
“It’s important we continue to explore new and innovative methods of detecting hidden leaks.
“What makes Halo and Danny so impressive is that they are able to differentiate between water leaking from a pipe underground and all other types of water on the surface.
“Once the dogs detect a potential leak, we will send our field crews to further investigate and repair it.”
The dogs were trained by Steve Austin in Sydney, who has been training working dogs for more than 30 years, before they were moved into the care of handler Dennis Gannaway.
Mr Gannaway then trained them to use their skills and work as a team from his Mount Crosby property.
“They are trained to drop their noses to the ground when they find the leak and then are rewarded with a game of catch,” said Mr Gannaway.
“They can usually detect a leak from a few metres away.
“If it is a big leak, they might pick it up from 30 to 40 m away and track back to where the scent is the strongest.”
For more information visit the Queensland Urban Utilities website.
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Image courtesy of Queensland Urban Utilities.