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Inserting a Ferret Leak Locator into a domestic water supply through a meter box

Gaining access to the inside of a leaking water supply pipe is a necessary requirement when using a Ferret Leak Locator to detect the size and location of a leak. With the rapid increase in domestic and commercial water metering, water companies have, in the majority of cases, opted to install a water meter close to the outside boundary of a property.

The attached SKETCH shows a typical single supply to a domestic property and the introduction of an external stop valve and manifold meter in a boundary box.

The boundary box as shown, provides an access point to the water supply pipe and, where leakage is suspected, a starting point for any investigation.

Ferret Technology has developed a unique approach to gaining access to the water supply pipe by using a boundary box adapter designed and manufactured by the company, which replaces the Manifold Meter and provides an entry point for the Ferret System. Currently there are two “Ferret Friendly” Boundary boxes being installed by a number of water companies. The two boxes are the Elster AJUSTA Water Meter Boundary box and the EBCO Boundary box with “hockey stick” outlet pipes, enabling the Ferret balloon to easily pass into the leaking pipe. The SKETCH details how the boundary box adapter works and allows the introduction of the moving valve / balloon into the pipe.

A number of water companies namely, Severn Trent Water, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, Yorkshire Water, Sutton & East Surrey Water and Essex & Suffolk Water are introducing these boundary boxes into their network as a positive move towards the use of Insertion Technologies. This enables water company repair gangs, commercial plumbers and leakage specialists to carry leak detection without the need for an excavation at the property boundary, greatly reducing time on site and the costs of detection.

The Advantages of installing a “Ferret Friendly” Boundary box?

Clearly a “No-Dig” option provided by these two types of boundary box allow this latest insertion technology to be adopted for leak detection, with accompanying pin-point accuracy and significant cost reductions.

These boundary boxes can easily be installed at the same time as the water supply pipe or when undertaking pipe upgrades (removal of corroded galvanised iron or lead pipes) and offers a more cost-effective method for service connections than a simple external stop valve.

Typically installed below ground, in the back edge of a footpath, boundary boxes allow for the control of the supply at the front of the property (in public highway generally) and removes the need for street furniture and unsightly boxes in view.

They allow the introduction of AMR (remote read) meters with volumetric consumption and night-time use information gathered without the need for someone having to visit the property.

The Ferret Boundary Box Adapter (Refer to Image 2)

Following the feedback from our customers who have tackled several thousands of jobs since 2011 using the Ferret leak detection equipment, the company undertook further research and development into insertion techniques by looking at ways of accessing the supply pipe at the boundary box. The result of this research and development work was the unique Ferret Boundary Box Adapter Kit (BBAK). This kit was designed to work with the two meter boxes described above, which allows the Ferret Head to be inserted straight into the leaking pipe, removing the need for unnecessary excavation as previously described

The kit contains the following items:- • Adapter that screws in to all types of manifold meter boundary boxes • A Proving Probe that is inserted through the adapter in order to test the pipe route, its diameter and to locate any 90-degree elbows which will prevent the Ferret Head / Balloon from travelling down the pipe. • A modified Inlet Hose with Non Return Valve for backflow prevention with quick release couplings to connect the adapter to the Ferret Leak Locator. (See Image 2)

Hydraulic Leak Detection

Once it has been proved that a suitably sized Ferret Head/Balloon can pass into the water supply pipe using the proving probe, you can then feed the cord from the Ferret Leak Locator through the outlet hose and add the selected size of Ferret Head. Manually push about one metre of cord through the connection on the boundary box adapter and connect the outlet hose.

You can then begin to use the Ferret Leak Locator to check the pipes for leaks – the only Hydraulic Leak Detection System available worldwide. The Ferret Head works by inflating a small balloon that blocks the water behind it. It moves along the pipe and when the leak is found, the pressure drops, stopping the Ferret Head moving further forward. Tracing the leak location and depth is achieved by use of standard CAT & Genny equipment either • By tracing line of pipe and using distance markers on the umbilical Cord or • By use of the optional sonde, which will pin-point the exact location of the

Ferret Head and therefore the leak location. In view of our company’s continuous improvement policy we have more to tell you about insertion techniques for leak detection. Look out for our blog on using a reverse flow hose kit.

To find out more about the Ferret Leak Locator or the specialist leak detection equipment we have in stock, such as the boundary box adapter kit, contact us by calling 0800 292 2835 or you can fill in our contact form and we will get back to you.


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