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How to Implement a Valve Maintenance Program

28 October 2016

How to Implement a Valve Exercising Program

  1. The first step in starting a Valve Maintenance Program is to prioritise the valves. Valves near critical customers such as hospitals are generally considered the most important. However, factors such as the amount of flow through the valve, the age of the valve, or its proximity to a main intersection on a busy street must also come into consideration.
  2. Once you have highlighted the most important valves in the distribution system, the next step is to exercise each valve according to the priorities you establish.
  3. Find and document the valve’s location. You can use a metal detector to locate valves in the distribution system. Ensure you take note of the exact location (use GPS equipment, traditional surveying, or measurement based on permanent fixtures) and photograph the valve and surrounding area – you don’t want to lose the valve once you have found it!
  4. Operate the valve. Exercising the valve involves operating the valve at least one full cycle until the valve operates freely with little resistance. This may take several full cycles. (A more detailed discussion on the actual exercising can be found in How to Exercise Valves)
  5. Records and maintain details for each valve. This includes mapping locations on as-built drawings or road maps.
  6. Schedule and perform needed repairs. Valve boxes are often out of alignment making it impossible to get the key (a steel handle used for manual turning that comes in multiple lengths) onto the valve. Valves are regularly broken during the exercising program because they have not previously been used. This can be eliminated by implementing a Valve Exercising Program. Fixing broken valves in a timely manner is very important.
  7. Repeat these steps on a routine basis. Experts recommend exercising a system’s valves annually or at least once every two years. Some valves will require a different maintenance schedule than others based on their location or unusual operating conditions. 


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