In recent years, the health of municipal mains has come under the spotlight. Dealing with this issue requires the undertaking of a water main valve exercise. That is correct - moving or exercising the valves.
Water main valve management is vital for these hidden, but important devices. These regulate, start and stop the flow in the distribution lines. This process is important for health reasons, as it helps keep contaminants out of the mains as well.
Being able to operate the valves on a moment's notice is extremely important. This is especially true when having to manage a water main leak. If one of them, however, has not been used for a long period of time - it can get stuck and corroded. This would make the device inoperable.
In most cases, they have been neglected. The mains must be in perfect operational state, to enable quick shut down of a municipality's supply, in case of contamination. A large problem arises from the fact that most systems would be hard pressed to tell you where all their valves are. In fact, most would be happy with being absolutely certain as to where just half of them are.
A great cause for concern is that some municipalities do not pay much attention to these systems. Indeed, many systems are reluctant to undertake such an exercise program. A major reason for this is that they dread the possible costs involved.
Over the years valves and valve boxes are filled and compacted with sediment. This makes it hard to reach them and they will take several hours to clean manually. This, in turn, makes water main leak detection more difficult, which will lead to more losses and property damage.
When undertaking a program, it is recommended that you decide on how you will prioritize the exercises. Most important are the ones that you would normally find close to critical locations, like hospitals. Other things to take into consideration would be the quantity of flow going through a certain valve, which is the oldest in the system, or how close it is to a large intersection, or a major road.
It is important that you only exercise one of them at any given time. The order, in which this is done, depends on your already established priorities. Doing this part of the job correctly makes future repair jobs easier, faster and safer. This will also save a great amount of money in the long run.
This action is a matter of maintenance. Fast turning equipment would be perfect for this kind of activity. You must be careful that your equipment does not generate excessive amounts of torque.
If it will not open or close, water main valve repair may be necessary. Applying high quantities of torque in such a situation could cause more damage and force an emergency repair. We are all very well aware that a scheduled repair is always easier and more cost effective than an emergency one.
Another important point to remember, when performing a Water main valve exercise, is documentation. Whether by using GPS, digital picture methods, or the traditional surveying technique - you need to document its location. The last thing you would want is to lose the location of your valve and have to undergo the finding process all over again.