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National Grid has approx. 9500 Valves (8” and above), many of which are over 40 years old and in varying degrees of repair. Many of these need intervention to maintain their usefulness in the transmission network.

Valvecare splash

Keyhole surgery for valves

Prior to the project, the only viable option was an expensive excavation, taking many days and involving a large number of people. The challenge presented here was to identify a means to survey and remediate these valves without excavation.

The Valvecare Project therefore originated with a view to develop equipment and techniques to investigate this and, if possible, intervene without requiring excavation of the valve. Where possible, the tools use the above ground breather port (typically 1") as a way of accessing inside the valve body.

Steer Energy have used Operationally Driven Design principles to develop the four-tiered solution:

Valvecare 4


Nimble VideoScopes enabling real-time video survey of the inside areas of the valve stem, alongside a range of measuring tools.


A low-pressure flush pump that allows water and debris to be extracted from the stem annuli, coupled with a high-pressure jetting pump.


Specialist fluid that when pumped into cavities, adheres to the walls and thus protects them from corrosion.


Process to align to existing Condition Monitoring policy.

The value in the ValveCare toolkit is in removing the need to excavate valves. There is a huge financial benefit to remote operations like this. In addition, being able to record and assess the condition of the valve as part of regular maintenance will undoubtedly lead to the early identification of issues that can be more easily rectified prior to failure.

Valvecare x3

For More Information


John Hunter