Air valve commissioning at Cairn Curran

Thursday 22 June, 2017

Four air valves crucial to the operation of Cairn Curran Reservoir have been replaced and successfully tested for the first time in 62 years.

While the valves are relatively small components, they have an important role to play in helping to regulate air pressure within the dam’s pipes.

“We knew the valves were approaching the end of their life as the dam was built in the late 1950s,” Goulburn-Murray Water Managing Director Pat Lennon said.

“In certain situations a vacuum can be created inside the pipes, which is why the air valves are so vital, to release the vacuum.

“The safe operation of the system depends on this equipment.”

The four valves cost $127,000 and were replaced on two pipes – one of which supplies irrigation and the other hydro power to AGL.

Mr Lennon said a range of calculations had been completed to understand more about how the valves work, based on fundamental engineering aspects.

“There were several improvements to the design during this process,” he said.

“The size of the valve is important so that in the event of shutdown we still preserve the pipe integrity.”

Dry seasons in recent years have delayed valve testing until now.

GMW Electrical and Mechanical Support Manager Chee Woo thanked those involved in the project – namely reservoir officers, the workshop and the dam safety team.

“The benefit to the public is they can rest assured we have put in place the highest possible level of safety as part of our risk mitigation,” he said.

General Manager Customer Operations Scott Barber agreed, and said the air valve commissioning was a win for those involved and the community.

“This project was no small feat and the team have strengthened their understanding of how the equipment works,” Mr Barber said.

Loddon Campaspe Regional Water Services Committee Chair Norm Suckling said Cairn Curran Reservoir continues to be a vital water storage for the region.

“That’s why it is important works such as these take place. It will help irrigators and communities for future years,” he said.