14 Feb Esri Post on Sinkholes Features WHUD’s Leak Detection Program
Esri, the international leader in geographic information systems (GIS), recently posted an insightful article on sinkholes, namely the one that enveloped the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green in 2014. The article also digs into the science that can’t be seen – how underground water leaks can aid in the formation of sinkholes. They also highlighted our proactive leak detection program using GIS as a way to help prevent sinkholes. Here’s an excerpt:
When pipe leaks run underground, the water or wastewater erodes the soil around the damaged pipe, eventually leading to a cave-in. The bigger and deeper the pipe, the bigger and deeper the sinkhole.
Water companies like White House Utility District in Tennessee are using GIS and mobile apps to track leaks and breaks as they happen. This information is mapped to give utility operators solid evidence they can analyze when anticipating where the next leak might occur. Operators study GIS maps of all related data to understand patterns in causes of pipe failures, such as pipe material, size, area, age, and surrounding soil. They can then target other similar assets and prioritize rehabilitation before the next leak happens. In this way, GIS apps and maps help prevent costly and dangerous collapses.
Just 50 miles from the White House Utility District service area, guests at the Corvette Museum explore the reality and aftermath of the massive sinkhole, reading descriptions of the event and its causes. Five of the eight Corvettes swallowed by the crater are on display, unrestored so viewers can examine the damage caused by the cave-in. Off to one side, visitors can peer into a small manhole in the floor. When repairs were completed, a vertical passage was left open, giving a glimpse of the hidden and sometimes volatile world below.