Application of Gate Valves in Water Distribution Systems

Gate valve operates with a circular shaped gate that moves perpendicular to the flow direction inside a cylindrical body.

The main application of a gate valve in a water distribution system is to isolate fluid flow. Therefore its usually found in either the open or closed position. The components of a gate valve include:

  • A body, seat, and gate.
  • A spindle that when rotated will raise or lower the gate to open or close the valve.
  • A handwheel or other mechanism to allow an operator to rotate the spindle.

Gate valves can be manually or automatically operated depending on the application requirements.

A gate valve operates with a circular shaped gate that moves perpendicular to the flow direction inside a cylindrical body. The gate can be completely closed or completely open as the application requires. When the gate is opened, it allows water or fluids to pass through. When the gate is closed, it prevents the fluids from passing through the valve.

Water Utility Applications

Gate valves used in water distribution systems are typically of the  non-rising stem type as they take up less physical space and can also be used in below ground installations..

There are advantages and disadvantages of usinggate valves in water distribution systems.

Advantages of a gate valve water distribution system include:

  • Lower fluid resistance: The gate valve’s body is a straight-through shape that does not alter the flow direction, allowing fluid to pass through it without obstruction. This makes for minimal resistance compared with other valves and ensures excellent performance in most applications.
  • Superior sealing performance: When set in the closed position, gate valves provide a tight seal that restricts the fluid flow and maintains the pressure on both sides of the valve. 
  • Bidirectional flow: Unlike other valves, gate valves can handle flow in both one-way or reversible directions easily and don’t need any special considerations because of their wide range of operation modes. That makes gate valves ideal when you want things like changeable flow directions in your piping system without having to worry about installing more complicated equipment that will take up valuable space in already crowded pipelines.

The disadvantages of gate valves include higher initial cost, larger physical size, and fewer available design configurations. However, these disadvantages can be overcome by proper planning based on operational requirements before selecting the appropriate gate valve to use for the application.

Considerations for Water Applications

Gate valves are the preferred option to isolate costly, high pressure, and sensitive equipment in a utility distribution system.

The applications for gate valves include:

  • Air venting during pipeline repairs.
  • Isolation of chlorine injector/pump tanks.
  • Feedwater shutoff valves isolation during startup/shutdown procedures.
  • Reservoir tanks that are being drained by gravity when no available power supply for operating pumps is available. These gate valve applications require manual handling even when equipped with heavy-duty actuators because of the criticality of these shutdowns.

Gate valves are an efficient and effective consideration in your pipeline design when planning your water distribution system. Gate valves are a versatile option that can be designed and built to meet various application requirements, are economical to install, and have good longevity. The versatility of gate valves in water distribution systems makes them a top choice.

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