Central Coast Council’s Water and Sewer division has embarked on an innovative journey with a trio of furry helpers to address the challenge of water and sewer leaks.
Enter Joey and Hydro, the spirited Springer Spaniels, and Winnie, the astute Cocker Spaniel, who have become the stars of a unique leak detection initiative.
In collaboration with the Sydney Water Lead Detection Dog Team, these canine detectives embarked on an ambitious task, covering 25km of water mains and 10km of sewer rising mains across the Central Coast.
Their mission was clear: to use their exceptional olfactory abilities to sniff out leaks that elude human detection.
Over a span of five days, amidst varying weather conditions, Joey, Hydro, and Winnie showcased their remarkable talent.
Their keen noses led them to the exact spots of leaks by tracing the scent to its strongest point, allowing the Council to pinpoint and plan repairs with unprecedented precision.
The spectacle of these dogs at work left a lasting impression on Jamie Loader, the Council’s Director for Water and Sewer.
He praised their extraordinary capabilities, emphasising the economic and environmental advantages of integrating these canine experts into the Council’s leak detection efforts.
The dogs’ ability to discover leaks early can prevent larger, more disruptive breaks, offering a proactive solution to maintaining the integrity of the water and sewer network.
Nicole Harvey, a trainer with Sydney Water Dog Detection, highlighted the dogs’ adaptability and precision, noting their success in locating over 354 leaks in the Sydney network, some buried up to two metres underground.
The program, mentored by renowned canine detection specialist Steve Austin, not only showcases the potential of leak detection dogs but also underscores their contribution to significant cost savings and efficiency improvements in water management.
Central Coast Council CEO David Farmer expressed excitement about this novel approach, acknowledging the invaluable insights gained from observing Joey, Hydro, and Winnie in action.
“Learning innovative, proven strategies from other water authorities demonstrates Council’s proactivity in seeking new ways to provide the Central Coast with a cost-efficient and sustainable water future,” he said.
Council anticipates ongoing collaboration with these canine helpers, integrating their unique skills into a comprehensive leak detection program.