Flushing fire hydrants is a necessary preventive maintenance activity. Residents will notice crews working at fire hydrants and see water running into the street. This process, conducted on a semiannual basis, is part of a required system-wide maintenance program necessary to maintain the integrity of the water system and to continue to deliver the highest quality water possible to our customers.
When performing flushing, residents in the immediate vicinity of the work may experience temporary discoloration of their water. This discoloration consists primarily of harmless silt and precipitates, and does not affect the safety of the water. If you experience discoloration in your water after crews have been flushing in your neighborhood, clear the pipes in your own home by running all water faucets, starting with faucets outside first, for a minute or two.
Testing fire hydrants is required when first installed and for insurance and design compliance purposes. Improvements, deterioration, changes in usage, and even water system maintenance activities will affect the amount of available flow from a specific fire hydrant. It is important to perform scheduled testing and flushing of all fire hydrants to determine their capabilities in an emergency situation.
Testing can uncover a number of mechanical problems from valves that do not operate properly, to leaks, and even pump-damaging debris flowing from hydrants. It is imperative that problems are discovered and repaired before a hydrant is needed.
Flow test data provides necessary field information to accurately estimate the capabilities of water mains. Water main and hydrant flow capabilities impact decisions as to what fire protection and fire resistance features are required for new developments and where priorities are identified with respect to upgrading older, smaller water mains.