Making Data Actionable

With thousands of miles of pipeline and hundreds of leak detectors in the ground, this water and waste recycling company was overloaded with data it didn’t know how to act on.

Detecting underground leaks in their pipeline saved this utility company hundreds of thousands of dollars every month.

Suez provides water and waste recycling services to more than 7.5 million people in the United States and Canada. They’re one of the nation’s leading environmental companies, and have a mission to deliver their services in a safe, cost-effective manner that positively impacts local communities.

Brio worked with Suez’s partner, Pipetools, to setup and deploy hundreds of wireless leak detection devices across the Suez network. With these devices in their underground pipelines, Suez began receiving data on a daily basis. For Suez, the challenge was building a rules-based web app that would look at the data from their leak detectors and make sense of what messages it relayed.

Setting rules to distinguish trends and identify issues based on existing data.

In the water industry, listening devices are deployed in underground pipes to measure noise levels. By measuring the noise levels at different sections of the system, water departments can tell if there is a active leak. For Suez, a leak in the pipes represents non-revenue water, or water that can’t be billed to a specific entity. Identifying these leaks saves the company money.

Brio worked with the team at Suez to set thresholds based on incoming data to trigger an alert that something was amiss. Because the leak detection devices rely on noise, their accuracy can be affected by their location.

For instance, if a leak detector is at a busy intersection, Suez expects it to record noises at a higher megahertz. In those scenarios, we were able to set hyper-specific rules on what noise-level represented a leak.

Actionable alerts, trends, and reporting.

With a set of rules in hand, Brio developed a leak reporting web app. The app takes in data from each detector and processes it based on the rules developed alongside the Suez team.

Every day, the web app crunches data and emails a report to the company’s leadership. The report tells Suez what problems exist so they can deploy a team to address the leak quickly, stopping excess water flow.

Savings so big, even the electric company noticed.

When Suez finally had the insights it needed from it’s data, they were able to find and fix water leaks quicker — leading to savings substantial enough that their electric company called to ask if they switched providers.

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