Listen...listen...what's goin' on ...underground?

  Aitchbee 20:53 27 Mar 2012

Whilst on a bus journey this morning, I noticed 2 chaps in high-visibility yellow jackets, on the pavement, and one of them plunged a thin metallic probe, about 5 foot in length into a hole in a small metal covering which had a capital letter W imprinted on it, which I concluded was something to do with WATER...their van had 'Water Conservation' printed on it.

The man with the probe then crouched down, and put his ear to the 'listening' end of the probe, which was shaped like one of the ear-pieces you see in 'Laurel and Hardy' films.

An hour later, on my way back home, from the bus, I could see they were still probing around, only this time on the pavement on the other side of the road.

I am curious to know, what were they doing, and what were they listening for?

  john bunyan 21:46 27 Mar 2012
  interzone55 21:47 27 Mar 2012

They're listening for leaks - there's a clue with the name on the van "Water Conservation".

There's more water lost through leaks that if we all ran hose pipes day & night. So imposing hose pipe bans on customers is a bit rich when the water companies can't get their own house in order

  badgery 22:13 27 Mar 2012


I would have expected, as you were a BT underground cable man, that you might have come across the other utility workers from water, gas and electric, and known something about their jobs as well?

  Aitchbee 22:15 27 Mar 2012

Thanks, john bunyan for that great link.

I, operated various probes/listening devices when I worked as a BT engineer when locating faults...but this was the first time I had seen this water leak check being carried out.

If I was on foot, and not on the bus I would have asked the engineers what they were doing...nicely.

  Aitchbee 22:20 27 Mar 2012

badgery - nope...had not seen it before...hence last post.

Scotish Water pipes might be made of longer-lastin' materials!

  Condom 00:09 28 Mar 2012

"Listen" do you wanna know a secret!!Perhaps they were listening to the PM trying to dig his way out of another hole when along came AitchBEE who said lets have a cup of tea. If your so good figure it out.

  Forum Editor 00:12 28 Mar 2012

This is a common and very reliable way of detecting leaks on domestic and commercial water supplies.

It will become less common as more water meters are brought into use. Any leakage on the customer side of a meter will be instantly detectable - by looking at the small rotating flow indicator on the meter dial. If it's rotating, and nobody (or no device) in the house is using water... there's a leak.

  Forum Editor 00:13 28 Mar 2012


Don't encourage him.

I'm serious - don't encourage him.

  wee eddie 00:52 28 Mar 2012

Just a thought: it obviously works well with metal pipes, which are great conductors of, even, small vibration, but will it work at all with the new blue nylon ones. I think not.

  spuds 13:13 28 Mar 2012

Every Sunday I tend to watch the BBC's Countryfile program. Last Sunday, they were talking about water conservation, leaks etc, and the program and points raised became very interesting, especially for the long term and perhaps more so for UK food supplies.

One thing that always seems to come apparent, is that the water companies have a whole lot more to do in providing a substainable service, both for the public and industry, even though industry are taking less water nowadays.

Not far from where I live was a very large underground Victorian built water storage facility with a rather magnificent pumping station, which was serving a very large area. The water board owners decided that this was no longer required, and demolished the lot, then sold the land to developers for house building. Its a bit like the increasing southern population moaning about water supplies, and the northern or Welsh population having all the water facilities. The time as now perhaps come to rule, on decisions regarding distribution made years ago?.

When I saw the title I thought it might have been about potholing :0)

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Best Amazon Echo: What’s the best Alexa speaker?

Kano Computer Kit Complete review: A fun DIY 'laptop' that teaches kids to code

Best pro photo editors for Mac 2018

TV & streaming : comment regarder les Jeux olympiques d’hiver 2018 ?