Earlier this year, we informed Southlake residents of plans to install Pressure Regulating Valves (PRVs) at various locations around the City as part of the Southlake 2030 Water Master Plan. A third party consultant was hired and conducted a water model computer analysis for the City’s water infrastructure network and identified five areas within the high pressure plane which have marginal capabilities during fire flow situations. Beginning in February of this year, work to install the PRVs at these locations (see map for locations) officially began.
The Pressure Regulating Valves are a Tier 1 project aimed at improving City water flow during firefighting emergencies.The PRVs are designed to detect the changes in pressure between the high pressure and low pressure planes and electronically adjust the water flow to supplement the availability of water during a critical need situation. “The low pressure plane has historically been a concern for the Fire Department if we were to have a significant fire on the East end of town,” according to Deputy Fire Chief Wade Carroll. “The addition of the new pressure regulating valves will ensure that there is sufficient pressure to fight a large fire in an area of town that has historically been a concern,” he adds.
Over the next several months, five (5), 6 foot by 9 foot vaults were installed at the identified locations and connections were made to existing 12” and 20” water lines that sit on the border of the high and low pressure planes. Beginning this week, we saw the final piece of this project going up – the above ground antennas. The antennas are a critical last component to this project and serve an important role in ensuring consistent water flow during fire emergencies. During a fire, for example, an electronic signal can be sent to water personnel letting them know whether the valve is open or closed. Water personnel can then make adjustments to the pumps remotely via the City’s SCADA system should additional water pressure be required in order to aid the fire department as needed. “Effective fire flow is greatly influenced by the water pressure within Southlake’s water system,” notes Deputy Chief Carroll, and the antennas will ensure that pressure is constant during such emergencies.
For additional information about the Pressure Regulating Valves, visit the project page here. For questions about the project, please contact Alex Ayala, P.E. at 817-748-8274.