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.
The purpose of the Valve Exercising Program is to exercise main line valves throughout the distribution system to assure reliable operation and maintain water quality.
Each valve is operated through a full cycle and returned to its normal position. Valves are exercised on a regular cycle that is designed to prevent a buildup of rust in the pipes as result of corrosion or other mineral deposits that could render the valve inoperable or prevent a tight shutoff.
While exercising each valve, it is essential that the location, make, type, size, turns, close direction and installation date of each valve is recorded. The district’s GIS systems provide a written record of valve location, condition, maintenance, and inspection of each valve.
The benefits of the Valve Exercising Program are exponential. The program accurately records detailed valve information, ensures valve reliability in the event of an emergency, allows staff the ability to immediately isolate water lines for main flushing and for main breaks, extends valve life and results in less staff overtime in dealing with emergency repairs. All of these benefits contribute to less water loss or waste and the least possible water service disruption time to our customers.