A water main on picturesque Mackinac Island needed emergency work and Advanced Valve Technology was given the task. There was something very special about this 10" (250mm) EZ™ insertion valve project – tools, crew, valve fittings and support components needed to step back in time and use the methods of a bygone era.
The quaint Michigan tourist destination island is the home of about 400 permanent residents who, at the height of vacation season, can host as many as 15,000 visitors per day. Situated on Lake Huron just east of the straits that connect it with Lake Michigan, Mackinac Island retains many links to a gentler time including a restriction on motor vehicles. Only emergency and selected support vehicles are permitted leaving horse-drawn vehicles, saddles, bikes, and shoe-leather as the preferred choices for travel.
To reach the install location for a needed valve, the AVT team, their components and toolkit caught one of the many scheduled ferries that cross the waters from the mainland to a shoreline dock. From there it was time for Dobbin. A flatbed wagon drove the payload and the two-man crew a few miles to the work site. Once there, due to the efficiency of the EZ™ Valve system, everything went according to plan.
The local water department had completed the excavation that exposed the host pipe at the desired install point. Fortunately the EZ™ Valve system is very compact and needs a much smaller excavation than other systems. Preparation of the section (cleaning and marking the gasket locations) was typically quick and easy. Placement of the lubricated gasket sets on low-friction tape bands applied to the pipe preceded the installation of the valve body castings. Once the body components were assembled the milling machine and control equipment were temporarily attached to the body and a milled slot was cut into a 120-degree arc across the top of the pipe. This and other installation procedures are completed under pressure and with the complete removal of all pipe chips. After the slot-access created the entrance for the patented resilient wedge gate, the valve bonnet was attached and the job finished.
The milled slot-access design of the EZ™ Valve system means that no special pipe restraint is required, and therefore, no additional digging and prepping for, now unnecessary, concrete work. Host pipe integrity is never compromised, as the line is never severed by dropping a coupon. Finally, a big, big advantage of the EZ™ is its built-in isolation gate that allows for easy under-pressure installation. No bulky, costly and hard to manage separate isolation component is needed that requires additional lifting equipment and much more time. Also, when used as a temporary line-stop, the valve's bonnet may be quickly removed for reuse elsewhere and a blind flange installed in its place. The EZ™ Valve system converts quickly with only a few simple hand tools.
Conditions in a deliberately quaint environment like Mackinac Island highlight some of the very important advantages that make the EZ™ Valve system valve so valuable. Many time-consuming and costly procedures required by other valve systems are totally eliminated and a location that restricts motorized vehicles emphasizes the major savings the simplified installation delivers.
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