For many people, an open fire hydrant spraying water all over the street may be infuriating, but there are some good reasons why this may be happening. Simply put, fire hydrants do need to be flushed periodically, not just to monitor the flow and pressure of the water coming from the hydrants but to help keep them clean and in good working order.
Hydrant Flushing to Test Water Pressure
First of all, flushing a fire hydrant allows it to be tested and monitored. This job normally falls on city workers. As the fire hydrant is flushed, the workers monitor it for potential leaks and any other issues that could cause problems with its operation. They also make sure that the water pressure is where it needs to be. The water pressure needs to be high enough for the water to move through a hose should the hydrant be needed to help extinguish a fire.
Cleaning Out the Pipeline
Another important reason why a hydrant should be flushed is because it helps clean it out. Although chlorine is added to the city’s water to keep it free of dangerous bacteria and generally keep it safe to use, the water that moves through a hydrant can still become stagnant if it isn’t flushed periodically. Chlorine naturally degrades over time, so stagnant water that hasn’t received a treatment recently is almost certainly not safe to the public. Sediment can also collect in the pipes, and flushing a hydrant can help remove dirt, rust, and other potential pollutants.
At a glance, it may seem like an open hydrant is wasting a lot of water, but this flushing is something that needs to be done to keep the hydrant and the water line connected to it in good working order. Fire hydrants are a necessity in any residential area in case of a fire, so the next time you see an open hydrant spraying water everywhere into the street, be glad that the city is taking the time to perform this important bit of maintenance, even if it does look wasteful.