C+S April 2021 Vol. 7 Issue 4 (web)

Meet Gauge Rye, the first privately-owned leak detection dog in the United States. In January of 2020, Seth Rye of Rye Engineering PLC, a Tennessee engineering company specializing in water loss manage- ment was forwarded an article by two utility district clients. The article featured a leak detection dog that was trained for Central Arkansas Water. From there, Seth’s wife, Pam took over and began researching this wonderful development in water loss management. Pam was able to contact Carrie Kessler and Tracy Owen of “On the Nose” Water Leak Detection Dogs of Roland, Arkansas who agreed to complete the training of a rescue dog named Gauge as a leak detection dog for Rye Engineering. When the Rye’s first met Gauge in March of 2020, he was already trained for obedience and imprinted for leak detection by On the Nose with help from a prison program in Arkansas known as “Paws in Prison”. This program allows for training of dogs by inmate handlers working alongside professional animal trainers like Carrie and Tracy. Since Gauge’s training was completed and he was delivered to the Rye Engineering on January 24, Pam Rye has taken the role of Lead Handler for Gauge with Seth taking the role of Co-handler. “I schedule a working session for Gauge each weekday. Sometimes it is 15-20 minutes and other times it is closer to an hour. This keeps his skills sharp and reinforces what he already knows about finding water leaks. Seth takes him on a Saturday hunt and is getting him ready for upcom- ing scheduled leak detection activities this spring,” said Pam Rye. Canine leak detection is a method where specially trained dogs are used to detect the smell of Chlorine in potable water. The dogs are imprinted with tiny amounts of chlorinated water when they are young. “We imprinted Gauge by introducing exceedingly small amounts of tap water to him. The first samples were on a Q-tip,” said Kessler. After imprinting, the dogs undergo regular training. “Its important to constantly vary their exposure to leak situations. Proper training will ensure that the animal knows its job is to find leaks,” explained Kessler. Rye Engineering plans to use Gauge in a wide variety of leak detection situations including but not limited to the following: Calling in the K-9 Unit for Water Loss: Tennessee Home to Nation’s First Private Water Leak Detection Dog for Hire By Esme Rye

4. Emergency leak detection 5. Quiet leaks

“Gauge has been well trained, but it will be up to us to figure out where he can be used most effectively,” said Pam Rye. “He is more than just a tool for leak detection. What sets him apart from conventional leak detection tools is the fact that he can think, he can adapt, and he has a

1. Cross-country water lines 2. Water transmission mains 3. Follow-up surveys to satellite leak detection



April 2021

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