In an attempt to quicken the process of detecting and repairing leaks in drinking water supply lines, the Corporation has acquired a mobile leak detection and rectification vehicle.

Named, Blue Brigade, the vehicle fitted with sensors and other latest equipment would patrol in the city henceforth to detect leaks in the complex network of water distribution mains running beneath the ground.

The sensors in the equipment are capable of detecting leaks in any type of pipe and pipes running at a depth of about five metres underground, Corporation officials told The Hindu.

The vehicle is also equipped with a computer and internet connectivity, besides the regular communication devices such as the wireless sets.

Once a leak is suspected the vehicle will be despatched to screen the water mains so that the exact spot of the leak can be detected immediately. The sensors emit different sounds to indicate regular and irregular water flow in the lines.

The current manual verification to detect the spot of leak consumes much time. Very often Corporation engineers spend a day or two to identify the exact spot and dimensions of the leak in drinking water mains.

The Corporation can now save on the needless expenditure and manpower wasted on such exercises. The vehicle is equipped with all latest tools including a concrete breaker (vibrator) to cut through blacktopped roads, a pipe cutting machine and other regular tools right down to crow bars.

It is also fitted with two generators of 1 and 3 KVA capacities so as to take care of the power requirements for lighting at the leak spot and operation of a pumpset to pump out the water from the trenches that are dug up to repair the leak. A portable welding machine would be added to the machine shortly, a Corporation engineer said. Engineers in all zones would be trained in operating the equipment shortly, they added.

The vehicle, acquired at a cost of Rs.14 lakh, was formally commissioned by the Transport Minister K.N. Nehru on Sunday. He handed over the keys of the vehicle to a Corporation driver in the presence of Anbil Periyasamy and K.N. Sekaran, MLAs, S. Sujatha, Mayor, T.T. Balsamy, Corporation Commissioner, M. Anbazhagan, Deputy Mayor, councillors and engineers of the Corporation.

The Corporation has purchased the vehicle with a government grant of Rs.10 lakh from the Part II Scheme. It has contributed Rs.4 lakh from its general funds. Mr. Nehru also commissioned 30 garbage containers and six dumper placer trucks to carry the containers, acquired by the Corporation at a cost of Rs.1.26 crore.

Similar containers and trucks are already in use in the city. But the Corporation has decided to augment their numbers. The containers, each with a capacity of eight cubic metres, will be placed at vantage spots to collect solid waste. The containers will be used in places such as Central Bus Stand, Gandhi Market, Chathram Bus Stand, and the markets at Subramaniapuram and Woraiyur, where huge quantity of garbage is generated every day.

The containers, which are lifted hydraulically on to the trucks, will reduce the time consumed for clearing and transporting garbage to the dumping sites, officials said. It would also prevent spillage of garbage on to the roads, they said.