Giving leaks the boot

Manchester City Football Club needed help in detecting leaks in its six miles of under-pitch heating pipes. So it overcame cross-Pennines rivalries to form a winning team with Yorkshire Water

Businesses that have their own private water pipes across the UK are benefiting from Yorkshire Water’s leakage detection service, which is tailored to the individual needs of a variety of customers.

Across the Pennines from Yorkshire Water’s Bradford head office is the City of Manchester Stadium, which was built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games but is now host to Manchester City FC.

Just a few weeks into the new season, the club’s mechanical maintenance engineer, Bill Poole, came across problems with the heating system. “I test the system every week, so we’re never caught out in bad weather. It was a shock to see the water pressure drop, and I knew straight away there was a problem.”

Yorkshire Water has experience of working with stadium venues, but these are usually within the Yorkshire region. So the company was pleased to get the call from Poole, who had heard of its work in this field.

With more than six miles of pipework beneath the pitch at the City of Manchester Stadium, the football club needed to call in the experts to help.

Yorkshire Water’s senior project technician, Angie Edmondson, says: “We were surprised but delighted when we got the call and worked with our partner, RPS Water, Bill and the club’s groundstaff to find the problem. Using some unique methods, we located more than 20 bursts in their under-pitch heating system in no time at all.”

The technology used to locate the bursts is second to none. The team replaces water in the system with hydrogen and nitrogen gas, and then uses high-tech detection equipment to scan the surface of the pitch for escapes.

Using RPS Water, the team of experts worked together to identify the burst and plan the best solution. Edmondson adds: “This technology meant we could accurately pinpoint the location of the leaks, so as little of the pitch as possible was disturbed.” Once the leaks were mended, the small areas of turf were carefully restored to their former glory.

Poole says: “We were delighted with the response from Yorkshire Water and RPS Water, and I think we made a great team. Obviously, I’d prefer it if we had no problems under the pitch but the service Yorkshire Water provided was very efficient. I’m so pleased they were able to sort everything out so quickly.

“Because the weather is still relatively mild, we don’t need the under-pitch heating just yet but I’ll certainly be calling in the team from the other side of the Pennines in future.”

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