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The original item was published from 5/16/2022 2:38:21 PM to 5/25/2022 6:05:02 AM.

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Posted on: May 17, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Tuesday's Water Wisdom

Tuesday's Water Wisdom

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For Immediate Release:  5-17-2022

For more information contact:

Keri Navratil



Tuesday’s Water Wisdom


Storm Lake Water Wisdom #53 brought to you this fine Tuesday from the City of Storm Lake involves Water Leak Detection.


In a previous Water Wisdom installment entitled Demand Reduction, reduction of water demand by leak detection was discussed as a responsibility of the water department. What is leak detection and how can it be used to reduce water demand? In every water system, there is a quantity of water that is treated, pumped into the distribution system, and then lost to leaks. When the leak from a water main is large enough, it is quite easy to detect since water erupts to the surface. But sometimes leaks are small, and they never work their way to the surface, or they can be large and simply find an underground route such as a tile or storm sewer and never come to the surface and may go unnoticed for extended periods. The sum of these system-wide leaks that exist unnoticed is called lost water. The city calculates lost water by subtracting the quantity of water that is metered and sold during a period from the volume of finished water produced in that same period. This is a very simple calculation that can have a variety of complications that get in the way of accurately determining the true volume of lost water. Unmetered water connections are the single biggest impediment to accurately determining the water system’s volume of lost water.  


The most common method of leak detection is acoustic. Acoustic detection uses devices on the surface to listen to buried water pipelines for leaks. These devices are quite sensitive and accurate and can do a very good job of detecting leaks and homing in on their locations. Correlation of leaks by technicians can also be performed using multiple instruments to compare the difference in time from the sound of each leak and calculating the distance between the leak and each microphone. When a leak is located, city staff will contact Iowa One Call to get all underground utilities in the area of the leak marked so the site can be excavated and the leak repaired. 

The City of Storm Lake Water Department performs leak detection in the spring, fall, and any time a leak is suspected based on other observations. Please notify the City of Storm Lake immediately at 712-732-8000 if you see water coming up from the ground. For more information, please visit the City of Storm Lake website at:


Tuesday's Water Wisdom

More tips regarding voluntary water conservation measures and tips for reducing water consumption will follow each Tuesday.  Ensuring wise use of our water resources is in the best interest of the community. 

Being Storm Lake Proud is not one day, one week, one month, or one event.  Being Storm Lake Proud is a magnificent lifestyle!  More information about the City of Storm Lake can be found on the city’s website at


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