What is hydrant flushing?

Would you leave a toilet filled with … well … items which shouldn’t be left in the toilet for a long period of time? Probably not. First, it would definitely smell. Second, things would start to seep out.

More items added to the basin would clog the toilet. In turn, overflow would occur and the entire mechanism would have the potential to crack. And this may cause further damage to fixtures and pipes. In other words, something usable would cost thousands to repair.

Now think of this in terms of a fire hydrant. It has similar traits — a handle and water pipe connections, for example. Water flows in and out of a center area. And, without flushing, the mechanism can fail. This would be devastating should a home or business catch fire.

This is why hydrant flushing is a must in the worlds of firefighting and public utilities. Without this operation pipes would clog, corrosion may start, and an important safety tool would be inoperable. While many citizens feel this is a waste of needed water, it is a necessary operation.

When this is done depends on the municipality. In many situations, there is a regular schedule of annual flushing done in certain areas. Sometimes, when the water table is harder, the operation could happen more than once. This ensures all debris and other material are cleared.

It starts with a complete opening of the hydrant’s flow with necessary tools. These are items which are normally purchased at stores or websites like Hurco Tech. How long the flush runs depends on the length of time it was idle. It also depends on the water table. The harder the water the longer the flush.

It is during this time that pressure measurements are also taken. These tests measure the pounds per square inch (psi) delivered. High pressures may need to be lowered. A lack of pressure can mean potential issues with the hydrant or the pipes which feed the water. In any case, further examination is needed to maintain safety.

If you feel like shaking your head when you see a small river flow down the curb from a nearby hydrant, hold off. Thank the firefighters and public utilities instead for being pro-active. At some point in time this flush may save your life.

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