Get Strategic with Isolation Valves

Inevitably a facility is going to experience a leaking or broken water main, or worse a gas main, setting your maintenance staff into emergency mode. The first step to mitigating a leak is to locate the nearest isolation valves to isolate the segment that is broken.  However, oftentimes these valves are located too far from the location of the leak forcing the shutdown of large portions of the network.  While the leak might only impact a single building or area, the lack of isolation valves could cause multiple buildings and a large area to be left without water or gas service until the broken main can be repaired. After such emergencies, it is easy to say hindsight is 20/20. 

The problem often is that Isolation valves are not strategically located, and are frequently value-engineered out of construction projects resulting in facilities and campuses that are woefully covered in the event of a water or gas leak.  Recently one of UVARA’s users finished a project adding multiple isolation valves to their campus after recognizing their water system had several areas that had inadequate isolation valves.  Using UVARA the user was able to isolate the water network and scan for these locations.  Wherever the water network had a tee without any valves they installed a valve on each side of the tee.  Additionally, they looked at long segments and placed isolation valves midway on these segments, especially if the segment was part of a water loop. 

In the image below you can see that this water network has two tees with no valves and another tee with no valve on the south portion. 

Isolation Valve

If this segment has a break, the only recourse of the maintenance staff is to isolate this entire segment shutting off water service to 3 buildings and a fire hydrant. 

With campuses largely shut down due to Covid19, now might be the right time to invest in additional isolation valves and minimize future risks.