Sniffer dogs recruited to detect hidden leaks

Published: 1 Jun 2020

Two pedigree hunting dogs are being trained to detect hidden leaks and odours across Sydney’s wastewater network.

Winnie, a highly intelligent Cocker Spaniel, and Ziggy, an energetic English Springer Spaniel, are the first dogs in Australia to detect both leaks and odours in the wastewater network.

Winnie and Ziggy will be able to identify the presence of sewage in minute concentrations. They will help find and fix hidden leaks within the 26,000-kilometre wastewater network.

Hidden leaks on the wastewater network can turn into major breaks and if identified early, can reduce water wastage.

The dogs have undergone months of intensive training with one of the country’s leading dog trainers, Steve Austin in Sydney. Mr Austin will also begin training a new puppy, Splash, who will be taught to find leaks on the water network, using the smell of chlorine.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said these puppies may be cute but they are both being trained for a very important job. 

“These highly-trained puppies will complement the existing approaches being used by our Sydney Water workforce, ensuring our water and wastewater services continue running reliably for the millions of people depending on these services every day,” Mrs Pavey said.

Sydney Water manages more than 50,000 kilometres of water and wastewater pipes across Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains and the Illawarra. 

Find out more about Sydney’s wastewater network

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