Residents who notice their tap water is discoloured or water pressure reduced this spring and summer shouldn’t immediately be concerned, according to Utilities Kingston, which has started the annual fire hydrant inspection and flow-rating program to help support fire protection.
Utilities Kingston assures the public that water is still safe if discoloured due to their work and recommends running the cold water tap until it is clear.
“Flow-rating requires that we open the hydrant to maximum flow. This can reduce water pressure and disturb deposits that normally occur in water mains, possibly discolouring the water that services neighbouring homes and businesses,” explained Kevin Riley, director of water and wastewater operations for Utilities Kingston, in a release. “We want residents to know that the water is still safe and they are encouraged to flush their pipes until the water is clear.”
Every year all 3,400 hydrants in the municipal water distribution system are inspected each year with 20 percent of the hydrants flow-rated annually.
That equals approximately 555 hydrants for 2018 in Zone Four which, according to Utilities Kingston, borders east of Coronation Boulevard, Bayridge Drive to the west, and Creekford Road to the south. Around 125 newly installed hydrants will also be flow-rated across the city.
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Four summer students have been employed for the 2018 program and receive the required skills and training and certification.
The department describes, as part of this program, “licensed water distribution operators from Utilities Kingston will inspect mechanical parts for proper operation, assess the overall condition of fire hydrants, and flush and flow-rate hydrants. Once the hydrants are rated, they are marked blue, green, orange or red to let firefighters know the flow rate, in US gallons per minute. Operators use mobile applications on tablets to collect and manage accurate fire hydrant data while in the field.”
“Ensuring that Kingston’s hydrant water supply is sufficient and available for suppression activities is essential for our firefighters to confidently save lives and protect properties from fire damage,” said Fire Inspector Tracey LeBlanc.
Fire hydrant inspection and flow-rating takes place from now until September from Monday to Friday between 8am and 4:30pm.
Customers of Utilities Kingston can find more information about this program at its Hydrant Rating page.