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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

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Maintaining Critical Valves at Pump Station and Tank Sites

Operating engineers exercise a critical gate valve a pump station and tank in southeast Portland.

The Portland Water Bureau's Operations Group and Asset Management Team are proud to report on a new Critical Valve Maintenance Program for the Water Bureau’s pump station and tank sites.

Valves are a critical part of the Water Bureau’s distribution system. While some valves are operated routinely as part of tank cleanings and pump maintenance, other valves are not exercised as often. This information led Operations staff to work closely with Asset Management, GIS, and CADD groups to develop a strategic approach to operate and maintain the valves that are critical to our operations.

The goals of the Critical Valve Maintenance program include: 

  • Identifying and operating all of our critical pump station/tank valves
  • Creating a standard and accurate facility site plan for each site
  • Updating the GIS system with accurate data
  • Documenting critical valve condition assessment records

The process of defining the program goals, identifying critical valves, and creating a standard template for facility site drawings began a couple of years ago. Most of the planning effort has been completed. The Operations Group has now created a special operations field team to lead the field efforts of this program. The team is now in the process of locating critical valves in the field, verifying final site drawings for accuracy, operating each critical valve fully open/closed, documenting each valve’s condition, and creating corrective maintenance work orders for any valves in need of repair.

This program has targeted critical valves at 65 pump station and tank sites. Each of these sites has numerous valves, such as tank isolation valves and pump control valves. The goal is to operate the critical valves at each of these sites at least once every seven years, or nine sites annually. With upwards of 20 valves per site, this workload equates to hundreds of critical valves being operated each year.

To date, the team has completed two pump station/tank sites and operated 46 critical valves. In addition, the facility site drawings have been finalized and GIS revisions have been completed for these sites.


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