Electro Scan (UK) Ltd. Introduces SWORDFISH Buried Lead Pipe Detection for the UK Market

Electro Scan’s SWORDFISH is now available to UK Framework Contractors, Companies, and Plumbers to locate and test buried lead water pipes.

SWORDFISH measures the change in electrical resistance of pipe materials that have unique levels of as shown in the periodic table.

Traditionally, determining pipe materials was only available by digging up the pipe.

Long term exposure to lead can lead to irreversible and permanent brain damage, decreased red blood cells, seizures, and death.

Despite banning lead pipes in 1970, many plumbers continued to use lead to solder & seal pipe joints, found by SWORDFISH if leaking through joints.

Eliminating Pavement & Sidewalk Openings and Digging Private Properties, SWORDFISH Automatically Determines Pipe Material for Targeted Replacement of Lead Pipes

“Lead plumbing in public buildings and domestic premises remains a measurable risk to public health.”

— Drinking Water Inspectorate ()

LONDON, ENGLAND, UK, February 20, 2023 /EINPresswire.com/ — Electro Scan (UK) Ltd. will unveil its SWORDFISH Buried Lead Pipe solution at this week’s World Water-Tech Innovation Forum, 21-22 February, Hilton London Bankside.

According to the Financial Times, the water industry estimates that a quarter of the 24.8 million domestic properties across England and Wales have lead pipes in their supply network.

Although no new lead pipes have been installed in the UK since 1970, properties built before 1970 commonly have lead services lines which has allowed British water companies to raise customer bills to replace by 2025.

“Before SWORDFISH, water companies were forced to dig up the surfaces surrounding buried pipes to test if the pipe was magnetised,” stated Brad Weston, MD, Electro Scan (UK) Ltd.

“If a pipe is magnetised, it means the pipe is metallic, but not lead,” continued Weston. “Lead is not magnetic.”

SWORDFISH represents a next generation machine-intelligent hand tool to detect buried lead pipe, including Bluetooth® connection to a Microsoft® Surface Tablet that transmits data to an Amazon Web Services® cloud for immediate reporting.

The Electro Scan SWORDFISH has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of £58,250 (US$70,000), with Framework Contractors and Plumbers charged a nominal reporting fee on a per property basis.

With surface excavations and potholing ranging in cost from £500-£3,000 per property, digging up and replacing a customer’s property can be quite costly, disruptive, messy, and may not accurately locate buried lead pipe.

SWORDFISH represents a breakthrough in locating buried lead services.

Since different pipe materials have different levels of electrical resistivity — a fundamental property that measures how strongly pipe materials resist electric current — Electro Scan’s SWORDFISH is able to record the change in resistivity as its probe travels through a pressurised or non-pressurised pipe.

Since the Electro Scan SWORDFISH takes continuous readings as it is pushed through a pipe, it also has the ability to detect lead soldered joints that are exposed between non-lead pipe materials.

Water companies reduce lead exposure from drinking water by adding orthophosphate to reduce the amount of lead that dissolves in water. Yet, decay of pipe materials and lead soldered joints may contaminate drinking water despite treatments.

“The U.S. Government has mandated its 50,000 drinking water suppliers to eliminate 100% of all lead service lines,” stated Chuck Hansen, Chairman & CEO, Electro Scan Inc. “Detailed inventories of all utility-owned and private customer-owned service lines are due for submission the the by 16 October 2024.”

As a result of inaccurate and incomplete mapping and geographic information systems that rarely identified intermediate pipe connections and materials, innovative technology was needed to replace having to dig up pipes to determine material.

Dealing with buried lead pipes in the UK is complicated.

Before 1970, lead pipework was commonly used to connect properties to the mains water network. The use of lead pipes has since been banned, however many older properties that have not been modernised are likely to have lead pipework underground and/or inside the building.

UK water companies are liable for water quality at people’s taps, but maintenance of the pipe network that supplies clean water, is shared between the companies and property owners.

A less common cause of lead in drinking water is the use of lead-based solder to join sections of pipe; however, lead solder is still permitted for use in closed central heating systems. But, unqualified plumbers may use lead soldering on drinking water pipes with older brass fittings also a source of lead.

Electro Scan (UK) Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S.-based Electro Scan Inc., a leading supplier of machine-intelligent pipeline assessment, location, and quality assurance products and services for the water & pipeline industry. The company designs, develops, and markets proprietary equipment, delivering field services and SaaS-based cloud applications that automatically locate, measure, and report typically not found by legacy methods. Electro Scan is also the exclusive developer and manufacturer of SWORDFISH; the world’s first machine-intelligent hand tool able to locate buried lead pipe.

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Janine Mullinix
Electro Scan Inc.
+1 916-779-0660
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