What maintenance holes and water valves do
Maintenance holes are round doorways into the City's water, stormwater, and sanitary sewers. The City's water & sewer crews access maintenance holes to inspect and maintain the pipes that carry water, stormwater, and wastewater. Sewer crews rarely enter the maintenance holes - inspections are done from the top, using cameras to inspect the pipes. Water crews do enter their maintenance holes to perform maintenance work.
A cast iron lid covers maintenance holes. City maintenance holes are marked "COV" or "City of Vancouver". Private utility companies like BC Hydro, Telus, and Shaw use separate maintenance holes marked with their own company name to access their underground utility lines.
Water valves and valve covers
Valves are used to isolate pipes for a variety of reasons, including the repair or renewal of water mains, services, valves, and hydrants. Valves are accessed through a valve box which are located on pavement or grassed areas.
Valves are used to control the flow of water through water pipes. Close the valve to stop water flow, open the valve to allow it. Valves get used for a variety of reasons, usually to stop water flowing to assist in the installation and repair of water mains, services, meters, and hydrants.
Valves are located several feet below ground level and are accessed through a valve box. The valve box is covered with heavy metal lid which can be seen on road surfaces, sidewalks or boulevards. Valve lids can become loose which is a noise nuisance when cars drive over them. They can also go missing – an uncovered valve box is an extreme safety hazard to pedestrians and vehicles. A valve lid is typically rectangular in shape and is stamped with “VWW” (Vancouver Water Works).
Water service shut-off valve covers or caps
Water service shut-off valves control the flow of water to properties, and can turn off water along a water service line if repairs are required.
Like valve lids, service shut-off valve covers, also known as valve caps, are marked with "VWW" for Vancouver Water Works.