Our leak detection dogs

Sniffing out wastewater leaks

We’re reducing leaks in our wastewater (sewer) systems with our new recruits, Winnie and Ziggy who have a nose for leak detection.

Since May 2020, they’ve been sniffing out leaks throughout our wastewater network, which spans more than 26,000 kilometres across Greater Sydney.  

Winnie and Ziggy are trained to alert us to the presence of wastewater (sewage) in our waterways and the environment, when there are no other indicators. They can identify wastewater in minute concentrations, even when we don't realise there is a leak.

Once Winnie or Ziggy detect wastewater, they follow their nose and take their handler through the catchment to locate the source. 

No other water utility around the world has trained dogs to detect leaks and odours at levels as low as these dogs can detect.

Finding leaks in drinking water pipes

We’re also training a puppy, Splash, to find leaks in the water network, using the smell of the chlorine we use to disinfect drinking water. 

Hidden leaks in the water network can turn into major breaks. If we can identify them early, we can fix them before wasting more water. This is essential, regardless of whether we’re in drought or not.

Creating a better life through innovation

The three dogs embody our innovation program, demonstrating what it means to be a world-class utility that puts protecting the environment and our community’s health first.

Leak detection dogs with handler

Winnie and Ziggy on the hunt for leaks, with their handler Bettina.