To keep water lines fully operational, cities exercise the valves in the lines. Here are some facts about the valve exercising process that most people don’t know.
1. There Are Specific Personnel
The main person in charge of exercising the valves is the Water Distribution Superintendent. Their primary responsibility is to create a schedule for valve inspections, exercise, and maintenance. They are also responsible for planning and scheduling any repairs that may be necessary for the water lines.
Underneath this person, there are 2 to 4 Water Distribution Operators. They are responsible for performing the inspections, exercise, and maintenance of the valves. They are also responsible for writing reports after each inspection about the condition of the valves.
2. There Is a Purpose
A valve exercising program is designed as a preventative maintenance measure for the water distribution system. Additionally, it must be done according to the American Water Works Association to meet this purpose.
3. It Involves Safety Measures
Since water lines run underneath streets, operators must take specific safety measures to prevent getting hit by vehicles. They primarily use trucks, signs, and cones to avoid vehicle accidents and staff injury. In busy locations, these crews will also need a flagger.
As far as specific safety measures, the staff parks the trucks to provide a barrier between them and traffic. They must also wear PPE that includes safety vests, hard hats, knee pads, glasses, steel-toed boots, and work gloves.
4. There Is a Specific Procedure
Once a work order is received, a crew will be assembled to perform the assignment. Crews of 2 workers will be deployed for smaller streets, while larger ones and intersections require 3 or 4 operators. Before driving to the site, these workers will review the planning criteria. For instance, they will look at the history of the line and the system maps. Then, they will plan their work. They will identify the starting and ending points as well as potential parking locations.
After this, they will arrive at the site and set up according to protocol. This means parking, setting up cones, and placing signs. After this, they will follow their planned route, exercising each valve with a valve turner.
Exercising valves is a crucial preventative maintenance measure that keeps water flowing to homes and businesses. It involves assigned personnel, following specific safety measures, and a set procedure to get the job done and properly maintain the water lines.