Valve Programs/Exercising Services  

The American Water Works Association (AWWA)
recommends that all water utilities departments initiate and maintain a comprehensive valve-exercising program. This program should include inspecting and operating valves (including distribution and transmission valves, air valves and blow-offs) on a regular basis.

A properly implemented valve-exercising program ensures proper location of valves, operation, and condition of valves. The physical operation and documentation of such operation are important and necessary for asset management systems and capital improvement budgetary planning. Ensuring valves work properly can also improve customer relations by allowing for system isolation capabilities in the event of needing repairs.

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Offer safety considerations that can prevent property damage and increase cost savings

The valves located within your water distribution system are an important safety feature needed to ensure your system works properly at all times. Pipes lead the path for the water to follow but the valves are the mechanical devices used to direct and control flow through those pipes. In an emergency you want to be able to isolate damaged pipe as quickly as possible and with affecting the minimum amount of customers necessary. If your valves fail you will be unable to isolate as quickly as you would like to and you will likely affect many more customers than need be to complete a repair.

A comprehensive valve-exercising program should have four main components.

  • Location of all valves located in the water system
  • Exercising each valve
  • Maintaining records
  • Scheduling and performing necessary repairs

Valve exercising should be performed at an interval that will prevent tuberculation from building up in the pipes. Tuberculation could render your valves completely inoperable or even cause incomplete shut down of a pipe.

When exercising valves be sure to operate slowly in order to prevent possible water hammer from adjusting pressure or changing water flow direction too quickly. Failure to do this slowly could cause a rupture of water mains.

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Do your valves even work? Are you sure? When was the last time they were inspected or operated? AWWA suggests valves be inspected and operated regularly.
A proper exercising program should include:

  • Locate valve
  • Notify owner as necessary
  • Note site conditions
  • Check area for hazards and implement necessary controls
  • Traffic control as needed
  • Pull cover
  • Clean riser as necessary to inspect valve
  • Exercise valve
    • Verify direction to operate valve in order to open and close
    • Assume valve is in full OPEN position
    • Begin closing the valve slowly increasing torque as needed to achieve movement without exceeding maximum torque
    • Count the number of turns necessary to reach the full closed position
    • Begin opening valve slowly, increasing torque as necessary to achieve movement careful not to exceed the maximum torque
    • Count number of turns needed to reach the full opened position
    • Repeat the close/open cycle a minimum of three (3) times, or until the number of turns necessary to open or close the valve does not change
    • Record the number of turns, cycles, and maximum torque applied
  • Photograph valve if necessary and/or possible
  • Record valve dimensions, condition of valve, and any other pertinent information
  • Replace cover
  • Before leaving area observe the location and evaluate for any hazards to people, property, or the environment, record findings
  • Mitigate any hazards observed and take steps needed to eliminate the hazard(s)
  • Photograph site

Hydra Tech, Inc.       P.O. Box 256, Sterling, MA 01564       Telephone: 978-422-9001       Fax: 978-422-9091       ©2013 All rights reserved.