Training the Next Generation in Water-Energy Concepts, Tools and Techniques

Sep 5, 2014


On August 26th, the City of Cerritos assisted Roy Benjamin, Water Systems Optimization (WSO), in conducting field leak detection training for students of Rio Hondo College, graduates of the Orange County Conservation Corps, and Whittier College.  This field training was pat of a unique two-day program funded by Southern California Gas customers and created by Dr. Dan Duran, Department Chair and Associate Professor of the Department of Business Administration at Whittier College.

The purpose of this program is to increase awareness in the considerable resource, economic and environmental benefits that can be achieved by saving both water and energy.  During Day One, Dr. Duran delivered intense training in water-energy fundamentals:

  • Types of water supplies;
  • The water cycle: from point of collection or production of water, to point of use, and then to ultimate treatment and either re-use or disposal of wastewater and eventual return to the environment;
  • Where, how and how much water is used by various sectors;
  • The impacts of the California drought and the need to re-think how we use water;
  • Opportunities for water conservation and efficiency;
  • Opportunities to save energy by saving water; and
  • The water and energy benefits that can be achieved by reducing leaks in water systems.

Students were assigned the task of reviewing the City of Cerritos’ water-energy profile prior to the second day of training.

On the morning of Day Two, Roy Benjamin presented information about types of leaks, and water leak detection tools and techniques. He also introduced students to the acoustical leak detection equipment that they would have an opportunity to use in the field.

The afternoon consisted of hands-on (or in this case, “ears-on”) field training on a portion of the City of Cerritos’ water system. Charles Emig, the City’s Water Superintendent, joined the field training that was conducted under the supervision and with the assistance of City water operations staff.

Every student had a chance to use the equipment to learn how acoustical leak detection works. During the training, Roy explained the fine art of correlating leaks: how to pinpoint the location of leaks by comparing sounds from two sensors that span the leak location, and then analyzing the sounds in context of the distance between the sensors, the pipe materials, and the time delay between the leak sound reaching each of the two sensors.

It was exciting to participate in this training that was designed to build understanding of the real challenges that are being faced by today’s water and energy utilities, and helping students along all career paths to understand that they all have a role in the solutions. This is, after all, the generation that will inherit today’s challenges – it is all of our jobs to assure that they are well equipped to tackle these issues.

We look forward to working with the City of Cerritos, SoCalGas, Dr. Duran, WSO and others to expand this innovative program!

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