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Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve

 
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Old 06-09-2015, 06:21 PM   #1
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Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


Hey guys, out of my usual forum here, hope someone in plumbing has some advice on this:

Our neighborhood's reservoir has a stuck 4" gate valve, its been open and not exercised for many years. There are no valves upstream from this or downstream that we can find so if anything happens in the neighborhood down below we can't shut off 25k gallons.

Any ideas how to rectify this problem? Can this one be taken apart and serviced? I was wondering if a block-off plate could be quickly installed when the valve mechanism is removed? The res is in-ground, the valve is adjacent to the res, the res is about 6 ft deep.
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Old 06-09-2015, 07:26 PM   #2
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Re: Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


I'll bet some leverage would get that thing loose. Clamp two four foot 2x4's onto the wheel (opposite each other) and give it a turn with two folks. Something like that.

( I know nothing about those valves....only the laws of physics)

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Old 06-09-2015, 07:53 PM   #3
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Re: Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


I've put some leveraged muscle to it and it moves a tiny bit but after several sessions of hearty back-and-forth it shows no signs of turning any more than just that.
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Old 06-09-2015, 07:58 PM   #4
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Re: Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


Try a little heat on the valve body while trying to turn it back & forth.
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Old 06-09-2015, 08:52 PM   #5
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Re: Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


Can you block the pipe intake opening under the water so in effect you have a valve upstream of this valve?

Tape half foot long wire pointers 1" apart vertically on the valve stem and wheel so you can tell if the stem itself is being twisted/deformed, rather than the stem just rotating, or the handwheel rotating relative to the stem.

With the 50 PSI pressure I have no idea how safe this is, but,
loosen the 8 fasteners on the bonnet in a diagonal pattern by 1/4 turn or 1/2 turn or until the valve starts to leak, then try to work the valve, maybe while whacking the thing all over with a 3 lb hammer.

With this method it shouldn't matter exactly where in the valve the holdup is.

Do this job behind some kind of shield.

Of course, if retightening the bolts does not stop leaks then you are in deep ca-ca.

Last edited by GettingBy; 06-09-2015 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 06-09-2015, 08:59 PM   #6
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Re: Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


The pressure on a plate - around 35 pounds total with a 6 foot head - would be manageable, but getting the plate on while a couple hundred gallons of water per minute is going through the pipe would at least require a little planning.

Some reservoirs have a way to stop water flowing into the intake - an overflow that can be raised or the like. What is the intake to the outflow pipe like?
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Old 06-09-2015, 09:05 PM   #7
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Re: Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


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Originally Posted by GettingBy View Post
....
With the 50 PSI pressure I have no idea how safe this is,.....
I don't understand the 50 psi pressure. A 6 foot head adds about 3 psi to atmospheric pressure. With atmospheric pressure out in the room, the head through the pipe would be that 3 psi, times about 2^2*pi, or about 35 pounds total pressure across the diameter of a 4 inch pipe. Nothing to be careless about, certainly.
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Old 06-09-2015, 09:16 PM   #8
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Re: Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


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Can you block the pipe intake opening under the water so in effect you have a valve upstream of this valve? .....
That is something to be very careful about. If it's a 4" hole in the bottom of the reservoir, it might be simple and safe. If it's a 2-foot exit or overflow gate, choked down to the 4" pipe, you could have a trickier situation - enough water flow to hold a man down, and a considerably larger surface under that 3 psi, when re-opening the valve or trying to pull a drowning man out.
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Old 06-09-2015, 09:16 PM   #9
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Re: Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


Quote:
Originally Posted by GettingBy View Post
Can you block the pipe intake opening under the water so in effect you have a valve upstream of this valve?

Tape half foot long wire pointers 1" apart vertically on the valve stem and wheel so you can tell if the stem itself is being twisted/deformed, rather than the stem just rotating, or the handwheel rotating relative to the stem.

With the 50 PSI pressure I have no idea how safe this is, but,
loosen the 8 fasteners on the bonnet in a diagonal pattern by 1/4 turn or 1/2 turn or until the valve starts to leak, then try to work the valve.

With this method it shouldn't matter exactly where in the valve the holdup is.

Do this job behind some kind of shield.

Of course, if retightening the bolts does not stop leaks then you are in deep ca-ca.
The reservoir is a six sided concrete box 2/3 buried. The outflow is simply a stub of the pipe rising about 12" above the floor as I recall. The rise is likely there to keep sediments from seeking the intake. One of my thoughts was to have a diver cap the outflow during the repair (access is through a small steel hatch off to the side on the top so its like a cave dive).

The deep do-do part is what I'd like to avoid
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Old 06-09-2015, 09:19 PM   #10
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Re: Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


Quote:
Originally Posted by CarpenterSFO View Post
The pressure on a plate - around 35 pounds total with a 6 foot head - would be manageable, but getting the plate on while a couple hundred gallons of water per minute is going through the pipe would at least require a little planning.

Some reservoirs have a way to stop water flowing into the intake - an overflow that can be raised or the like. What is the intake to the outflow pipe like?
Yes, getting the plate on in a timely fashion is what I was wondering about. I know its going to be a gusher.
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Old 06-09-2015, 09:24 PM   #11
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Re: Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


The thing about the valve is that it is open which I'm assuming means that the tapered disc that normally seals the valve closed is retracted all the way up so the bind is not on the disc, correct assumption? If yes then where would the bind be, in the threads of the stem? or maybe the packing gland?

Perhaps I should loosen up the gland first and see if I can get some movement
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Old 06-09-2015, 09:36 PM   #12
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Re: Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


The bind could be from corrosion built up inside the valve below the disc.
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Old 06-09-2015, 10:26 PM   #13
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Re: Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


Freeze the line on the inlet side and replace the valve, I would recommend an OS&Y style valve as opposed to a simple gate.
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Old 06-09-2015, 10:32 PM   #14
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Re: Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


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Freeze the line on the inlet side and replace the valve, I would recommend an OS&Y style valve as opposed to a simple gate.
Really? Freeze it? That sounds awesome, is there a specific piece of equipment to do that or do I hire it done? I suppose one could pack dry ice around the pipes to accomplish that?

On total valve replacement, is it possible that dimensions and bolt patterns have remained constant over the years that would allow slipping in an entire new valve without modifying the pipes and flanges?

Last edited by Sand Pot; 06-09-2015 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 06-10-2015, 02:22 AM   #15
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Re: Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


You use liquid nitrogen, hire it done, and check dimensions on the existing valve and what you are buying to replace it, though Stockham should be fairly consistent in flange to flange size.
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Old 06-10-2015, 05:04 AM   #16
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Re: Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


what about using a test plug to plug the pipe at the tank.
i do like the killers way
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Old 06-10-2015, 08:31 AM   #17
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Re: Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


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what about using a test plug to plug the pipe at the tank.
i do like the killers way
Yeah, that is an option but it would require two trips into the tank by a reservoir diver.

I am definitely going to look into hiring a pipe freeze contractor
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Old 06-10-2015, 10:11 AM   #18
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Re: Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


Quote:
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I don't understand the 50 psi pressure.
I assumed a valve that hefty holds back some force.
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Old 06-10-2015, 10:13 AM   #19
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Re: Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


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The deep do-do part is what I'd like to avoid
"Minimax (sometimes MinMax or MM[1]) is a decision rule used in decision theory, game theory, statistics and philosophy for minimizing the possible loss for a worst case (maximum loss) scenario. "

By now there seems to be several suggested ways to do this.
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Old 06-10-2015, 12:08 PM   #20
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Re: Old Froze Up Reservoir Gate Valve


and the K.I.S.S. theory, simply let the neighborhood demand drain the reservoir to the point that head pressure is minimal (leave the well pumps off until the repair is done)

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