The Importance of Valve Maintenance


The Importance of Valve Maintenance

Water infrastructure is fundamental to any community, ensuring the safe and efficient delivery of one of our most vital resources. However, the significance of watermain valve maintenance is often overlooked, despite its critical role in safeguarding water systems. The American Water Works Association’s Manual M44 provides comprehensive guidance for the maintenance of distribution valves, a resource that Gewalt Hamilton Associates, Inc.’s (GHA) Facilities and Utilities Management (FUM) division strongly advocates for in developing maintenance programs for municipalities.

Valve Maintenance: A Critical Component for Water System Integrity

Valve maintenance programs are essential, beginning with the validation of valve components against AWWA, ASME, and ANSI standards at the manufacturing level, ensuring each valve passes a series of critical tests. The FUM division advocates for a thorough post-delivery inspection to ascertain the valves’ operational status, a critical safeguard against potential disruptions in both planned maintenance and unexpected events.

The FUM division’s maintenance strategy extends to regular evaluations for corrosion, structural integrity, and valve operability. Proactive identification and resolution of these issues are critical to preventing potential emergencies, ensuring that the water system remains a reliable resource for the community. This approach not only upholds the system’s integrity but also reflects the division’s dedication to maintaining community trust through consistent and dependable water service management.

The benefits of such programs extend beyond the immediate operational advantages. “When we maintain our watermain valves, we’re also preserving public trust in their water system,” says GHA Operations Superintendent Jean Scher. “Residents and businesses need to know that their water supply is secure and that their city is looking out for their well-being.” Through the FUM division, GHA reinforces this trust by maintaining a consistent and reliable water service.

Emergency Preparedness

Mike Grinnell - Director of Facilities and Utilities Management
Mike Grinnell, FUM Division Director

A watermain valve maintenance program is pivotal in ensuring that valves are operational when needed. “The worst time to discover a problem is during an emergency,” states Mike Grinnell, Director of Facilities and Utilities Management. “That’s why functionality is critical; it’s about preparing for both planned events and unexpected emergencies, minimizing the impact on residents and businesses.” The FUM division’s approach to maintenance emphasizes this preparedness, ensuring reliability in every valve in the water distribution network.


Cost-Saving Benefits 

GHA recommends a multi-year valve inspection and exercise program that allows a village or city to systematically ensure that every valve within its jurisdiction is in top working order. This kind of foresight and planning can save a community significant resources in the long run. “It’s not just about preventing water loss or service disruption,” Scher adds. “It’s also about smart financial planning. Emergency repairs can be costly, and regular maintenance is a cost-effective strategy to avoid those unexpected expenses.” The FUM division’s role is pivotal in guiding municipalities through the intricacies of these maintenance programs, ensuring long-term operational efficiency.

The importance of watermain valve maintenance programs cannot be overstated. They are essential for the operational efficiency, safety, and reliability of a community’s water distribution system. GHA’s FUM division stands ready to assist municipalities in implementing these critical maintenance strategies, ensuring that water systems are not only functional but also resilient. “At the end of the day, it’s about providing communities with the assurance that their water system will perform when they need it most,” concludes Grinnell “And that’s a responsibility we take very seriously.”