Acoustic Fiber Optic Monitoring Detects Wire Breaks Tucson

Pure Technologies pinpointed wire breaks on a large-diameter water main in Tucson using Acoustic Fiber Optic monitoring, possibly preventing a major failure.

On August 13, Tucson Water went into emergency mode when several wire breaks occurred in a short period of time on one of its 96-inch Prestressed Concrete Cylinder Pipe (PCCP) water transmission mains, indicating there was a high risk of failure. Tucson Water was able to react quickly to the wire breaks by reducing the pressure in the pipe and diverting water from another main to serve its customers, subsequently preventing a failure.

In the following days, Pure and Tucson Water verified the pipe and found it to be more damaged than originally expected, requiring more repairs. The condition of the pipe made it clear that Tucson Water’s decision to shut down and repair the line immediately prevented a failure.

This same pipeline failed in 1999 about 700-feet upstream from this pipe, dumping 38 million gallons of water into neighborhoods and costing the city $2.5 million. Since that time, Pure has been working with Tucson to develop a pipeline management program including electromagnetic (EM) assessment and AFO monitoring. Tucson Water was the first utility in North America to install an AFO system throughout their entire PCCP inventory.

Below is an ABC News 4 Tucson story outlining how Tucson Water’s AFO system identified an at risk pipe before it failed.

Pure and Tucson Water will continue to monitor the large-diameter water mains in Tucson to identify areas of distress and proactively repair pipe sections.




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Assess & Address Pipeline Management Program

Pipeline Monitoring

Providing real-time critical data of a prestressed pipeline allows the asset owner to effectively moniture changes in structural integrity and address necessary improvements.