City of Phoenix Utilizes Insertion Valve for More Efficient Operation

Being responsible for providing safe drinking water to approximately 1.5 million people is no easy task, but the City of Phoenix Water Service Department remains up for the challenge. As part of its ongoing efforts, the water service department is always looking for effective solutions to ensure water continues to flow through 7000+ miles of pipes and reaches more than 460,500 service connections.

By Matt Littell, Senior Product Manager – Mueller Water

The City of Phoenix Water Service Department installed a 6-inch insertion valve to reduce non-revenue water loss and limit customer shutdowns, and test the capabilities and benefits obtained from utilizing the resilient wedge gate valve design.

“We first started off as a trial when the manufacturing company was in the final customer validation testing phase of the insertion valve,” explained Keith Mojica, Water Services Deputy Director at the City of Phoenix Water Service Department.

“As part of this testing program, we chose a location in the vicinity of a hospital, doctors’ offices, and a dialysis center — an area which would be problematic if a lengthy shutdown occurred.

Typically, to replace the broken valves in the area, we would have had to turn off the water supply to these key locations and it would affect a large number of customers. To ensure the impact to these important businesses was kept to a minimum, we gladly agreed to be a part of the first live installation of the new valve to see if it could provide us with the solution that we needed.”

The valve manufacturers contracted a specialized pipeline services company to conduct the installation of the 6-inch Insertion Valve on an older cast iron watermain at the chosen site. The area was excavated the day prior to the installation, the main was plated, and then the live installation of the valve took place the next day.

The valve’s design incorporates advanced features for reliable and repeatable watertight shutoff, which proved capable of withstanding high pressure and provided long term service with minimal disruption to the existing water mains. For example, manufacturers such as Mueller, offer the Mueller® A-2361 Resilient Wedge Gate Valve and Mueller® H-600 Series ductile iron tapping sleeve in 4˝, 6˝, 8˝, 10˝ and 12˝ standard (DI, CI, PVC pipe) and oversized (A-C pipe) variants. The manufacturing company offers a 350 psi rating, highlighting the valve’s innovative design which allows for insertion into existing water mains with minimal service disruption and dependable functional service life, making it an ideal solution for the City of Phoenix Water Service Department’s needs.

Results

The new valve was successfully installed in approximately three hours and the team was able to flush the water line and perform a brief shutdown to test that the line was dry, confirming that the installation was a success. Overall, the valve significantly reduced service downtime to customers.

Since the initial installation in March 2020, the City of Phoenix Water Service Department has installed 15 more of these Insertion Valves around the city. The sealing components helped to make this a more effective solution.

“What really sold me was that this Insertion Valve is a true system line valve. The previous inserting valve solutions we used operate differently and you must treat them with more care and awareness than a than a traditional line valve in the system. If a valve operator crew is working with our old solution, I have to warn them to ‘operate the valve with caution’ and not overtighten the valves because you can damage the valve itself or even crush the main. With the new valve, I do not have to worry about the valve operators trying to tighten it in the field; it is going to be the same as turning a traditional line valve,” said Mojica.

The City of Phoenix Water Service Department has also seen time and personnel resource savings by utilizing the new valve. For traditional water shutdowns, the City of Phoenix notify es customers 48 hours in advance of a shutdown which sometimes requires hiring additional personnel to go door-to-door to inform customers that they should expect a water isolation event. “We dedicate a lot of time and resources to notifying our customers in advance of an expected shutdown in order to provide the best customer service possible. As far as savings go, we do not have to dedicate the time and staff resources to notifying customers if we are able to use a the valve insertion because it will not require a lengthy shutdown to complete the installation,” stated Mojica.

Because of the time, cost, maintenance, and customer downtime savings realized from utilizing the insertion valve, the City of Phoenix Water Service Department plans to make it their insertion valve of choice for future installations. These multiple installations have demonstrated that the new insertion valve is more effective than previous solutions.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Littell is a Senior Product Manager with Mueller Water Products, overseeing new product development of Iron Gate Valves and supporting current products. He has extensive expertise with resilient wedge gate valves, solid wedge gate valves, and hot tapping and is committed to developing relationships between end users and product developers.

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