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  1. ITV Report

Snipe the sniffer dog spots leaks for water company

Every day leaky pipes mean that millions of litres of perfectly good water is wasted. However, one of the biggest challenges facing utility companies is finding those leaks in the first place because the leaks are often hidden somewhere in the the pipes under the ground.

The supplier 'Thames Water' is trialling a new method of detecting leaks. The firm has employed a sniffer dog with a very good nose for sniffing out when the pipes have sprung a leak.

  • Watch a report by Charlotte Briere-Edney

The trial is being run by Ross Stephenson, director of Canine Assisted Pest Eradication (CAPE), with his canine colleague Snipe, a three-year-old Sprocker spaniel.

“The dog is detecting the small amount of chlorine used to make tap water safe to drink. When underground pipes leak, some of which are 2m down, the chlorine from the water will come up through the surface.

“When he picks up a scent, he will stare at a point where he smells there’s chlorine and I will take a grid reference.

“I like to do 4km per dog, per day. I could go further than that but the dogs do get bored so after 4km I’ll go off and do training with the dog to make sure he’s still excited about the job he’s doing.”

– Ross Stephenson, Trial scheme organiser