By Brett Hanes
Millions of miles of plastic and metal pipe lie underground, carrying the nation’s water to our homes and businesses. Most of this pipe dates back to the 1940s and earlier. Given the age, it is not surprising that municipalities are often faced with repairs related to water infrastructure.
Steubenville’s Aging Infrastructure
The city of Steubenville, Ohio, also known as the City of Murals, was grappling with a serious water problem. An intersection of gate valves began showing signs of significant damage, including broken stems on two of the three valves. The city feared the valves were in the partially closed position, which increases pumping costs and associated problems.
In addition, water was surfacing due to a leak in a connecting tee. The intersection, the gate valves and the leaking tee were all part of the original water main installed in Steubenville in the 1930s. After 80 years of wear, the time had come to address the aging infrastructure.
With a population of nearly 20,000 citizens relying on the city water supply, Steubenville faced a major predicament. City officials carefully considered all their options in order to choose the most effective and efficient solution. Insert valves were one possibility. Yet, city officials had a number of concerns about traditional insert valves including, mediocre performance records, sealing to the host pipe and full water shut-off during installation.
A Practical Solution
Upon investigation, city officials determined that the design of the Team InsertValveTM afforded multiple benefits other insert valves did not offer. The Team InsertValve is a fully functioning gate valve with a resilient wedge gate that provides a clear, unobstructed waterway under full rated working pressure.
A chief distinguishing benefit of the InsertValve is that it is a true valve, unlike most insert valves. Conventional insert valves use the host pipe as an integral part of the valve, meaning the valves become part of the corroded and often undersized pipe infrastructure. Ultimately, the valves must be completely removed and replaced when capital expansions are scheduled.
The Team InsertValve seals onto the valve body, not the pipe. This means the valve can be installed under full pressure, and the corroded pipe can be removed downstream without shutting down the system.
“The Team InsertValve system enables the removal of the complete section of pipe, meaning the host pipe is not a permanent part of the new valve," said Bill Skinner, assistant superintendent of the city of Steubenville.
This technology accommodates full water and wastewater system hydraulic forces (up to 250 psi) and meets ANSI/AWWA C515 material standards. In addition, it eliminates backflow contamination, purging and bac-t hits, and orients on many types of pipe, including ductile iron, steel, cast-iron, AC and PVC.
Coated on the inside and outside with NSF-61 epoxy, the iron construction maintains the strength of the existing infrastructure. The Team InsertValve provides instant valve control and at the same time allows the later removal of downstream piping, including the ability to upsize pipe without system disruption.
After a thorough product review, city officials selected The Team InsertValve to repair their aging water infrastructure.
"We wanted the Team InsertValve because of the quality of the Team valve over the competition and due to the swift, live installation that does not interrupt water service to our customers,” said Skinner.
Impressed with the results of the first use of the valve, the Steubenville Water Department plans to continue using this product for future infrastructure repairs. Skinner says the water department believes Team InsertValves will service their water distribution system well for years to come.