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    Default Fire Hydrant Maintenance

    Just a quick question...

    Who is responsible for flushing, testing, and maintaining your fire hydrants? The fire department, the municipality, the county, or...?

    Any advice on a conflict with town government on whos responsibility it is? And how to light a fire under the town to DO THIER JOB?!
    Last edited by Co11FireGal; 02-11-2005 at 12:32 PM.
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    The City of Marlborough's Department of Public Works/Water and Sewer Services Division.
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    Water department. The only time the DFD goes around opening plugs is when the ISO is with them testing pressure and flow.

    Bunker buddy,
    I know your a book worm like me. Do some research and show them precident that well maintained water supply is a large part of the pie of fire protection,will lower fire insurance rates.

    Also, it's thier system......they are liable if the system fails due to lack of maitnence. Remind them of what lawyers are getting today for wrongful death suits.
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    Locally, our city and fire department are both involved in maintaining, flushing, and testing. The city provides the hydrant, so if it gets broke or needs to be fixed that is the citys problem. We rarly flow test our hydrants that would fall under the FD. Flushing is done by the city, and FD of course with how small our town is, the people that fix and maintain the hydrants are both with the city and FD.

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    They are connected to the public water supply, so our City Water Department maintains them. Even when we connect to them for a fire, we call the water department who will come out after the event to service the hydrant to ensure that it drained properly and is ready for use again.

    Firefighters are trained to put out fires, not how to run a municipal water system....
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    Originally posted by stm4710
    Do some research and show them precident that well maintained water supply is a large part of the pie of fire protection,will lower fire insurance rates.
    Well, this is where we come to another problem...

    We recently found out that the town is showing a 40% water loss. A well maintained water system is something that we do not have and likely will not have for a good while. The town has been rejected for a water grant for the last 7 years and the situation is only getting worse. We've even seen a noticeable difference over the last few weeks in how much water we are getting from our 2 1/2 connection in the bay that we use to fill trucks.

    People do nothing but complain when the hydrants are opened because of the effect that is has on the water in their residence...so the town avoids complaints by not doing anything. If we crack a hydrant and there is no fire, we have residents and the town on our backs. With the water situation in town the way it is now, there is a VERY good possibility that several of our hydrants are no longer operational or not adequate for use...FINE we'll call more tankers...but we need to at least know about it. We're not asking the town to solve the problem, just to give us all of the info so we can know where we'll have to improvise.

    We have a council member who is also on the dept. that will go along with which ever group he is with at the time...he apparently spoke to the public service commission and reported to us at a meeting that it was the towns job...then 2 months later after the severity of the water problem was realized in full...he's saying that the hydrants are our responsibility...puts and interesting turn on things, huh?
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    We flush, test, oil, and paint every hydrant in the city once a year.(1000+). The city water department fixes any we find not operational. It helps when we come back and paint then solid silver and tell everyone who will listen that silver hydrants are OUT OF SERVICE. You know, the one right down from the Mayors house!!

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    Our station is located in a Borough which is part of a big city in PA. They are supposed to keep up on the hydrants, but they don't. Also $15,000 a year comes out of our budget to pay the city for using their hydrants. Has anyone ever heard of something like this ?

    We get a $30,000 a year budget and half goes to the City's water department.

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    Where does your budget come from that half has to go back to the city?

    Around here, the water department takes care of hydrant maintenance, painting, testing, etc.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    My fire department is responsible for testing all of the public main fire hydrants in our city (500+) once a year. We open all caps, flow the hydrant, measure static & flow pressures, oil the threads and move on to the next plug. We do not test hydrants located on private water mains because of liability concerns.

    We're blessed that one of the water district guys is also a volunteer firefighter. When we find problems with a plug, we call him and the problem is usually resolved fairly quickly.

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    Originally posted by Co11FireGal


    Well, this is where we come to another problem...

    We recently found out that the town is showing a 40% water loss. A well maintained water system is something that we do not have and likely will not have for a good while. The town has been rejected for a water grant for the last 7 years and the situation is only getting worse. We've even seen a noticeable difference over the last few weeks in how much water we are getting from our 2 1/2 connection in the bay that we use to fill trucks.

    People do nothing but complain when the hydrants are opened because of the effect that is has on the water in their residence...so the town avoids complaints by not doing anything. If we crack a hydrant and there is no fire, we have residents and the town on our backs. With the water situation in town the way it is now, there is a VERY good possibility that several of our hydrants are no longer operational or not adequate for use...FINE we'll call more tankers...but we need to at least know about it. We're not asking the town to solve the problem, just to give us all of the info so we can know where we'll have to improvise.

    We have a council member who is also on the dept. that will go along with which ever group he is with at the time...he apparently spoke to the public service commission and reported to us at a meeting that it was the towns job...then 2 months later after the severity of the water problem was realized in full...he's saying that the hydrants are our responsibility...puts and interesting turn on things, huh?

    From what I remember you told there are only 900 people in this town, we are only talking a handful of plugs here right? I mean, thier cant be that many to flush out. Just curious, what kind of system do you have, is your soul source the river? Whats your main size and pressure?

    ***People do nothing but complain when the hydrants are opened because of the effect that is has on the water in their residence...****
    Sounds like you got a very weak system that opening a plug causes water disruptions. If your pressure is under 20-25 psi now its a health issue cause there is a possibilitys of contaminated backflow into your drinking water.
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    We NFPA flow color-code paint each hydrant once every few years as the water department will not do that and accompanmy them each year when they test hydrants so our flow figures will match for ISO. All other aspects of the hydrant system are taken care of by the water departments (we have 5 - all of them are independant companies, not munciplaities).

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    County water department handles it for us
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    We lost points from ISO as our public works department is suppossed to take care of basic hydrant maintenace, but it hasnt been done in a LONG time and when the fire department asked to take them over the public works people of course had fit saying we were trying to take money away from them ..........they very rarely weedwhack.........and have very few hydrant markers........and do less shoveling of the same ..........
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    Twice a year we flush, lube, clear weeds or trash(as needed) or paint(also as needed) we have over 600 hydrants in our first in area. If we need a hydrant changed or repaired we notify the city water dept and they do the hard labor.

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    Originally posted by stm4710
    From what I remember you told there are only 900 people in this town, we are only talking a handful of plugs here right?
    I'd have to see the map to know exactly how many, but there are about 30. It's not that there is an overwhelming number. The town has the equipment and the training to do this. That's what the paid town employees are for. They have completely broken all ties with the fire department. They seem to forget that they have to provide fire protection. I guess what we're looking for is a tactful way to remind them. Our relationship has gotten a bit better due to some positive PR within the last 6 or 8 months and we definitely don't wanna kill it. BUT, first they decided that our apparatus would no longer be insured under the towns fleet insurance, they didn't have a problem with the police cruisers, then it was well we're not going to pay the fire chief (not that they paid much, but still), now hydrants are our responsibility??

    Originally posted by stm4710
    Just curious, what kind of system do you have, is your soul source the river? Whats your main size and pressure?
    Our source is not the river. We do not have a treatment plant of our own. Our water is purchased from the City of... I'm gonna keep names out of this one. Anyway, our water is purchased from a larger municipality. From what I have been told, we have 4 inch mains...pressure I have no idea.

    Originally posted by stm4710
    Sounds like you got a very weak system that opening a plug causes water disruptions. If your pressure is under 20-25 psi now its a health issue cause there is a possibilitys of contaminated backflow into your drinking water.
    Correct... A couple of weeks ago 1 hydrant was cracked for about 30 seconds, if that, and the town received at least one complaint from a lady who happened to be washing her whites. As far as it being bad enough to be a health problem...NO. Incorporated municipalities are required by the WV Board of Health to employ a "Class 1 Operator" that does water quality testing, from many different locations in the system, 7 days a week.
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    Originally posted by Co11FireGal


    They have completely broken all ties with the fire department. They seem to forget that they have to provide fire protection. I guess what we're looking for is a tactful way to remind them.


    You could remind them that they too are dependant of these hydrants in the event of an emergency. Or if they won't maintain them you could shut off the ones closest to thier homes to divert pressure to the ones closest to the industrial sections.

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    Originally posted by Co11FireGal

    People do nothing but complain when the hydrants are opened because of the effect that is has on the water in their residence...so the town avoids complaints by not doing anything. If we crack a hydrant and there is no fire, we have residents and the town on our backs. With the water situation in town the way it is now, there is a VERY good possibility that several of our hydrants are no longer operational or not adequate for use...FINE we'll call more tankers...but we need to at least know about it. We're not asking the town to solve the problem, just to give us all of the info so we can know where we'll have to improvise.
    That's our problem too. So they never get flushed. All of our training is done on booster tank water.

    I'm just waiting for a fire and the hydrant fails to operate.

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    we have 4 inch mains...pressure I have no idea
    WTF .
    bunka buddy,
    Do some research on the great Boston fire of 1872 in the finanical district. You see, because there wasnt a great demand in a office district for water and it was day only operation the city only laid 4" mains.

    Well, acourse fire broke out ,they had a poor water supply.......the cities downtown burned. They even called in mutual aide from Portsmouth NH and New Haven CT via railroad flat car!!!!!!! This is what lead to the two types of hydrents in Boston. Thier is your everday plug with average pressures. Then there is the high pressure system. The plug has 4 x 2.5" high pressure connections around 150-200psi. That system can also be fed by the fire boats in the habbah that during a major fire can supply more water and pressure.

    At the VERY LEAST water mains supplying hydrents should be 6"....and thats a poor supply as is.

    Our relationship has gotten a bit better due to some positive PR within the last 6 or 8 months
    And I know WHO is responsible for that.
    Last edited by stm4710; 02-11-2005 at 09:51 PM.
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    Our local water company is a part of the "multi-national" company RWE, known to us as American Water Companies. Kentucky-American Water Company owns all the mains, hydrants, etc. in the entire county, as well as parts of surrounding counties.
    When a new parcel of land is developed, the developer must pay for the installation of water mains and fire hydrants. The work may only be done by the contractor designated by Ky. American. Obvioulsy, city ordinances dictate water main size and distribution of hydrants.
    From that point on, we pay an annual hydrant rental of around $275.00 per hydrant. (we have thouands and thousands of hydrants, so the annual hydrant rental line item in the budget is somewhere between 5 and 10 million bucks.)
    The water company does all testing and maintenance of the hydrants.
    On every incident that we use water, we log in an electronic log the amount of water we use, and this data is forwarded to Ky. Amer. Water Co. periodically.

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    All our hydrants (approx. 250) are owned by the Assumption Parish Waterworks. Our system is basically well maintained. The waterworks does some routine flushing, but no testing. That's up to us if we want to maintain our ISO rating. So we test, flush, and clear grass and brush annually. If we find a problem we report it to the waterworks and they repair or replace the defective hydrant.

    They also allocate each department in the parish 3 new hydrants per year. Each year if we have an area that needs an additional hydrant or two to fill in a "gap" or address a target hazard, we specify where we want them added. Alternately, we can request some other service of equal value in lieu of our 3 hydrants, such as having hydrants painted and color coded.

    The waterworks has also done a better job in recent years of making sure that new hydrants go down whenever a water line is upgraded or added, such as on a new street.

    Granted, a lot of our hydrants aren't great volume-wise (some are in fact pretty **** poor in the outlying areas), but we have pretty good coverage for such a rural area. A lot of our neighboring parishes have no hydrants outside the incorporated towns and have to rely on water shuttles.
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