Maintenance of pipelines and other water infrastructure in flowing wells is only possible if you can isolate and control the artesian flow from the well. This is made possible by using a main isolating valve which functions like a tap. When shut, this isolating valve stops any flow and allows maintenance work to proceed.
Main isolating valves sometimes fail due to age, corrosion or poor maintenance resulting in a need to replace or repair the valve. This is one of the most challenging maintenance operations to undertake, particularly in regions where the groundwater is close to boiling point and under enough pressure to spout water many metres into the air if the well is opened.
In the past, changing the main valve required expensive equipment such as drilling rigs and mud pumps to contain the flow. The department has developed an alternative low cost system that diverts the flowing water sideways, allowing a tool to be safely inserted into the well from above and positioned below the main valve. Once in place the tool can be activated to control the flow, allowing the faulty main value to be safely replaced or repaired.
The department undertakes these activities as needed for state and privately managed wells.
For further information, contact us at DEW.ResourceMonitoring@sa.gov.au.