The ability to operate valves at a moment’s notice is extremely important. In an emergency, entire sections of a distribution system may need to be shut down immediately. However, if a valve is not used over time it can seize up from corrosion and/or silt, resulting in an inoperable valve.
Knowing the exact location of your valves has multiple benefits. Surveying and exercising valves gives you an accurate representation of existing water distribution assets, lets you know if water main valves are operating as they are designed to, minimize insurance and legal claims, shut down water pipelines quickly in case of a main break, lower the cost of damage to buried infrastructure, reduce the area of effect of a water main break, and have a management program for your water distribution system. An effective valve exercising program may help prevent damage to property, environment, and injury to the public and employees.
By regular surveying and valve exercising, you will have the detailed records you need to ensure the operability of your distribution system. Surveying helps identify the condition and location of all your valves. Knowing the condition of your valves and having an updated GIS system helps eliminate; higher costs associated with water main breaks, lost time digging up buried valves, and congested traffic due to excavating roadways. When it comes to maintaining your valves, it’s better to be proactive than reactive!
American Water Works Association “Manual of Water Supply Practices – Distribution Valves: Selection, Installation, Field Testing, and Maintenance” (AWWA M44)
AWWA “Water Distribution System Assessment Workbook”
AWWA Operating Guide to G200 – “Distribution Systems Operation and Maintenance”