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Valve Box Asset Management and Maintenance Tools for Water and Gas Distribution

Posted by Mark Beatty on

Valve Box Asset Management

If you work with underground valves in water or gas distribution, leak detection, or emergency response, you've probably had some of these frustrations:

  • Kneeling in traffic with two screwdrivers to open a valve box lid
  • Kneeling in wet grass or mud to get a valve box cover off
  • Stuck valve box lids
  • Cleaning and clearing the finger holes to remove a lid
  • Frequently bending over to pick up lids hurting your back
  • Not knowing the status of a valve (in service, open right/left, normally open/closed, etc.)
  • Valve boxes full of mud, debris, sand, or gravel
  • Broken valve boxes from snow plows or traffic
  • Valve box lids that won't stay in place.

There are a number of tools to help you easily maintain your valve boxes and lids. Here are some of them.

Magnetic Valve Box Lid lifters and Valve Hammer

We have two magnetic valve box lid lifting tools. These tools prevent you from getting down on your knees in unsafe or unpleasant places to manually pull out the lid. Both tools have a prying portion on the handle to pry open stuck or rusted shut lids, and get dirt out of the finger pull holes. Both are designed so that you can lift the lid straight out of the valve box top while standing. This is partucularly safer in a traffic area where you can be more aware of and step away from moving traffic if necessary. The MVB-24 is shown in a video below, as well as a chrome plated one with a hammer on one side of the handle to help loosen very difficult lids. There is also a specialized valve hammer. The hammer has a sharp specially angled pry blade on one end and a nice heavy flat hammer head on the other.

MVB-24 Magnetic valve box lid lifting tool Sewerin Magnetic Valve Box Lid Lifter Valve Box Hammer
MVB-24 Lid Lifter Sewerin Lid Lifter Valve Box Hammer


Link: Valve Box Lid Tools


Valve Box Cleaning & Identification

Once you get the lid off, you may find you sill can't easily use the valve due to mud or debris in the valve box. It is nice to clean them all in bulk with a vac truck, but in a pinch when you only need in one valve box that probably isn't convenient. For t eh one-off clean outs, you should have an auger or valve clean out tool. a couple of these are shown below. They can usually get you to the valve pretty quickly.

Valve box clean-out spoon tools
Collapsible Valve Box Key with Clean-out Auger Accessory Valve Box Clean Out Spoon Tools


Link: Clean Out Tools

Once you know you have a problem valve box, you might want to prevent it from having to be cleaned in the future. You can do that with various plugs and caps to help keep out mud, gravel, and other debris. Two types of valve box plugs are shown below.

 Foam Mud PLug - Prevents dirt and grave from going to the bottom of the valve box
Valve box mud plug with waterproof asset management tag Valve box lid with waterproof magnetic asset management tag inserted
Trumbull Locking Valve Box Lid Valve box asset management tags - Waterrpoof Tyvek


Link: Valve Plugs, Caps, and Asset Management Tags 

It can also be handy to know some information about the valve at the site. Waterproof Tyvek tags can be attached to the plugs to designate size, direction of turn open, closed, or normal status, and maintenance records. For valve boxes that don't need a plug, a magnetic tag can be attached inside the top of the lid as shown above. If your valve boxes are getting filled from lids popping out, you can use metal or plastic valve box repair and replacement lids that have friction locks. Most use the same pentagon lock as meter boxes and curb boxes.

Repairing Broken Valve Box Tops

Sometimes you'll have a valve box get broken off by a snow plow or traffic. Other times it may heave in the frost and stick up above the pavement. The Kerf Cutter tool and Kerf Cutter repair kit can fix those valve boxes typically in less than 10 minutes by cutting out the bad top, pulling it, and dropping in a repair top. Here is how that works.

Kerf Cutter ST2 Valve Box Repair Kit

More information on the Kerf Cutter Valve Box Repair Tool and repair kit shown above.

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