In the Village of Bayville, 30 miles of underground water main, 4 to 16 inches in diameter, carries water to residents’ homes. At the village board meeting on Feb. 22, trustees and Mayor Bob De Natale approved contracts with two companies to ensure that water is monitored and analyzed more efficiently, and that leaks are detected quickly.
A unanimous vote garnered a new contract for New York Leak Detection, which has worked with the village for four years, for roughly $3,700. The company’s work is important, because the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation mandates that Bayville and other municipalities submit an annual water conservation plan. The 10-page report includes the number of gallons of water pumped, and the number billed to residents. The two numbers should be close, Andrew Petti, superintendent of the Bayville Water District, said.
The leak-detection company hooks ultrasonic equipment up to fire hydrants to listen for running water. If there is, the leak location is marked on the street with spray paint. Petti said New York Leak Detection has always been precise when it comes to finding leaks.
“Then we open up the road and fix the water main break,” Petti ex-plained. “We usually know of the bad ones because we can see water. But if it’s a minor leak on the joint of a pipe, it won’t surface. That’s when water is being lost and wasted.”
The water district repairs two to three leaks each year, and according to New York Leak Detection, they are often homeowners’ responsibility.
“One year, two water main breaks were found that we didn’t know about because Bayville is sandy and the water doesn’t surface and is absorbed,” Petti recalled. “We do this once a year, but our water storage tanks are inspected two times a year, as per a mandate from the [state] Health Department.”
The leaks are usually found in Bayville’s flood zone, most often on the north side of Bayville Avenue, east of Ludlum Avenue. Petti said that the village did not have any water main breaks in 2020, but did have two service leaks and the homeowner was notified.
The Farmingdale company Wire to Water was given a contract for $215,000. It will provide a Supervising Control and Data Acquisition system to monitor and track trends, which Petti said all wastewater districts currently use. The village water district constantly monitors the acid and chlorine levels in its three wells. Currently the analysis capabilities are hooked up to the plant sites.
With the SCADA system, the information will be downloaded, allowing Petti and other water district employees to see it on a laptop. The system, Petti said, is more sophisticated.
“We don’t have the computers now,” he said. “Everything is recorded on a paper chart. Now the wells will be better maintained, and we’ll see what’s going on at the plants remotely.”
Previously, an alarm would indicate that there wa a problem at one of the wells, requiring Petti or another operator to drive there. With the SCADA system, they would receive a call on their cellphone and a computerized voice would provide specific information on what is happening at a well. Using a laptop, the well can be shut down and fixed without the need for someone to drive to the plant.
“This stand-alone system won’t be able to be hacked,” Petti said. “The operators will get laptops, and there will be a computer in the office. The system will be encrypted on a Virtual Private Network — a VPN.”
Another advantage of the SCADA system is that the Water Department will be able to add more alarms, so when it receives one it will know the type of problem. Petti said that one alarm will even let him know if a light goes out at one of the wells.
There are other advantages too. “If we had a disaster and you couldn’t get to work, you’ll be able to monitor the status of our wells from home, right?” De Natale asked Petti.
“Yes,” he answered. “The on-call operator would have laptop capabilities to see what’s going on, and could turn one well off and another on if needed.”