City Council recently signed an agreement to participate with the consulting services Wach’s Water Services, A Division of Pure Technologies U.S. Inc. for the annual Water Valve Assessment Program in conjunction with leak detection services.
Wach’s Water Services is a professional services company that primarily assists utilities with asset management, leak detections and water quality improvement.
The purpose of assessing the condition of the City’s water valves is to be ready for emergency preparedness; by evaluating the valves early, it can help ensure that they can properly operate in case of a crisis operation or a sudden event, in addition to allowing Public Works to quickly locate and isolate the valves. It will also allow crews to properly shut off the flow of water in a particular pipe segment that may cause flooding and/or property damage.
The assessment will take place in two phases. Phase I will include the evaluation of 300 valves to validate operational functionality and correct any deficiencies prior to the beginning of Phase II.
Phase II consists of a unidirectional flushing program through a partnership with the City’s consulting engineering firm, Freese & Nichols. The UDF Program involves strategically closing of valves and flushing specific fire hydrants to recreate friction between the water and interior of the water line. It is also a cost-effective way to clean the lines, which enhances water quality and protects public health.
Emergency preparedness is a top priority for the City and checking the water system for vulnerabilities is a proactive measure to improve response time and prevent further damage. Three areas of the UDF Program were identified in the City’s Water Quality Evaluation completed by Freese & Nichols. Wach’s has been assisting the City with the design of the sequencing of valves by utilizing the GIS data.
“Our partnership with Wach’s has proved valuable thus far with the implementation of a valve assessment program,” said Southlake Water Supervisor Kyle Flanagan. “We have three years of valve assessments under our belt already here in Southlake, which equates to roughly one-quarter of the valves in our distribution system,” he continues, “This critical program is essential for our utility; we have assessed areas such as our commercial district including Town Square.”
Several neighborhoods have also received this service as it enhances the City’s reliability to ensure valves are functional, plus it identifies and prioritizes the isolation valves that need repair. “As our distribution system ages, our goal is to make sure it works as designed. Southlake valve crews are repairing these valves identified in our program for emergency preparedness,” said Flanagan.
In addition to the valve assessment leading into opportunities such as the UDF Program, it has also been identified as a best practice in the water industry.
“The leak detection portion, which is separate, is for situations where conventional leak detection methods cannot locate leaks; we may need specialized services and equipment brought into locating the leak. Our Water infrastructure is under expensive pavement and we try to be as accurate as possible when locating an area to excavate to repair a leak. Some leaks we have had to insert cameras with acoustic listening devices inside live pipelines to pinpoint leaks. These are the type of services Wach’s has provided to us,” notes Flanagan.