Proco Products, ABC Ingeniería supply new, 84-inch duckbill check valve to protect Medellín treatment plant
Boasting zero maintenance requirements and absolute protection against backflow, it is no wonder why one of Colombia’s largest wastewater treatment plants has trusted rubber duckbill check valves to protect the integrity of its operations for more than 20 years.
An 11-mgd facility in southern Medellín is one of Colombia’s most important. It is the largest wastewater treatment plant in the Aburrá Valley, an inland region of nearly 4 million residents shaped both physically and culturally by the health of the Medellín River.
When an 84-inch-wide duckbill check valve capping an outfall pipe only a few feet above the river bottom began to show signs of age, securing a fast and reliable replacement for the valve became critical to the facility’s mission, Proco Products, Inc., working alongside its Colombian distribution partner ABC Ingeniería, responded by sourcing a new ProFlex™ Style 711 Flanged Sloped Bottom Check Valve according to the facility’s specifications.
The replacement valve, installed in April 2023, promises to safeguard the facility as well as the quality of the Medellín River for decades to come.
Custom Manufactured for Resistance and Reliability
The replacement valve had to meet very narrow specifications in order to fit the outfall and the confined vault that houses it. Crucially, as the mouth of the outfall sits only about 6 feet above the bed of the Medellín River, facility staff had to secure a valve with a bottom flat enough to avoid clearance issues.
As the diameter of the valve they required was wider than the gap at the top of the vault, they also needed a valve made of materials flexible enough for workers to squeeze into the installation site without risking damage or safety hazards. Despite this need for collapsibility, the valve had to be rigid enough to maintain its constitution and backflow-prevention performance even during the most turbulent river-flooding conditions.
One of the greatest failure risks for valves adjoining waterways is inversion, which occurs when strong, high-velocity flows press against the valve’s duckbill piece in such a way that it not only cracks open, but caves inward, incapacitating the valve and leaving the outfall vulnerable to backflow.
Proco Products and ABC Ingeniería worked with facility personnel to manufacture a customized replacement valve according to the site’s unique needs. The ProFlex™ Style 711 valve features a low- sloping floor measuring less than 4 vertical inches, making it ideal for low-clearance applications.
While it would have been impossible to lower the valve into the vault using traditional, solid retaining rings to attach the valve to the outfall, Proco supplied a set of split retaining rings that allowed the valve to bend during installation without sacrificing the strength of its attachment to the pipe.