BMC may pump helium in water to detect leakages in pipelines
Thirty-eight years after it was first rejected, a technology to detect leaks in city's underground water pipelines has been revived by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The technology in question involves pumping helium gas in the city's water supply, so that leakages can be spotted by measuring traces of helium under the road surface. The civic body has tested the technology in various parts of the city and is now consideringrolling it out across Mumbai.
Old-timers in the civic body recollect rejecting the Helium water leak detection technology almost four decades ago. "This technology was primarily being used in the Netherlands. Around 1974, there was a proposal to try the technology out. But since pumping helium turned the water yellow, we rejected it," said a long-serving civic official, not wanting to be named.
In its new avatar, the technology no longer causes discolouration. A private company conducted trials at two locations - at Mulund and in parts of D-ward, including Grant Road - in the city for a month.
Officials, however, said that the cost of the technology was steep. "The trials have been successful... We are trying to see if the cost can be brought down," said standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale.
"This technology will result in minimal damage to the road," said a senior official from the hydraulic engineer's office. "Earlier, suspecting leaks, we would dig up practically the entire road to search for the exact location of the leak. If this technology is implemented, we will have to dig only specific portions of the road," the official said.
The official allayed fears that water may get polluted because of helium gas. A professor from Institute of of Chemical Technology also ruled out any possibility of such a contamination.