RFPs: Technology and Innovation for Assessing Operability and Closure of High Consequence Valves

Grant Size $100,000 to $500,000   ,   Closing Date


The Water Research Foundation is inviting applications for the "Technology and Innovation for Assessing Operability and Full Closure of High Consequence Valves" Project.

Valves are integral to the operation of a water distribution system and are particularly important in risk management of catastrophic main breaks, as they facilitate isolating the break and minimizing losses and damages. However, valves are often ignored until they are needed due to limited budgets and resources; by then, they may be inoperative—if they can be located at all. There is insufficient research on how to assess the condition of valves and appropriate valve renewal methods. Operation and maintenance of valves involves more than simply determining if they can be located and if they are open or closed.

High-consequence gate valves are of particular interest in this work. They are often on transmission mains and are generally 24 inches in diameter or larger. Some utilities have an active maintenance program for high-consequence valves. Data from these utilities may be used, along with detailed case studies, to provide an objective evaluation of existing maintenance approaches and to inform the exploration of new maintenance approaches. 

Project Objectives 
  • This project will evaluate existing maintenance approaches for high-consequence valves, provide guidance on the evaluation of the approaches for valve assessment and maintenance (including the application of artificial intelligence (AI)), and inform an exploration of new maintenance approaches. Lastly, this project will provide useful communications materials and statistics to convey the importance of valves in a resilient distribution system, as well as valve rebuild methods for larger, more expensive valves.

Funding Information
  • Applicants may request up to $200,000 in WRF funds for this project. 

  • Project Duration: The anticipated period of performance for this project is 24 months from the contract start date.

Research Approach 
  • This RFP is intentionally flexible in the research approach to encourage creativity and originality from proposers. Proposers should describe how they will conduct the research to meet the objectives. The following approach is intended as a starting point. 

    • Conduct a literature review to define high-consequence valves 

    • Rely on existing data collected from utilities and/or their contractors actively engaged in maintenance activities on high-consequence valves 

    • Conduct detailed case studies 

    • Provide guidance for utilities to conduct the evaluation of approaches for valve assessment/maintenance and provide recommendations for minimizing interruptions to operations during valve inspection/testing/maintenance 

    • Explore the application of AI

Expected Deliverables
  • Typical deliverables include the following, but proposers are encouraged to propose deliverables practical for utility use and to show creativity and originality:

    • Research report

    • Guidance manual

    • Case studies

    • Webcast

Evaluation Criteria
  • The following criteria will be used to evaluate proposals:

    • Understanding the Problem and Responsiveness to RFP (

    • Technical and Scientific Merit 

    • Qualifications, Capabilities, and Management 

    • Communication Plan, Deliverables, and Applicability 

    • Budget and Schedule 


  • Proposals will be accepted from both U.S.-based and non-U.S.-based entities, including educational institutions, research organizations, governmental agencies, and consultants or other for-profit entities.

Post Date: July 08, 2024

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