Utilities Kingston will begin its annual fire hydrant inspection and flow-rating program this month.
The work may affect tap water and residents may observe discoloured water or experience reduced water pressure. Utilities Kingston reports this is expected and the water remains safe. Water can be cleared by running the cold water tap until the discolouration disappears.
“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,” said explains 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.”
20 per cent of city hydrants in the municipal water distribution system are flow rated every year, while all 3,400 hydrants get inspected.
For the 2017 inspection, approximately 850 hydrants are being flow rated in zones five and six: south of Princess Street and east of Gardiners Road to Division Street, excluding south of Johnson Street.
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To complete this work, Utilities Kingston’s licensed water distribution operators will inspect mechanical parts for correct operation, determine the overall condition of fire hydrants, and flush and flow-rate hydrants. These operators will use mobile apps on tablets to collect and manage accurate fire hydrant data in the field.
Once the hydrants are rated, they will be marked blue, green, orange or red to let firefighters know the flow rate in U.S. gallons per minute.
“It’s important for our firefighters be able to have knowledge of and confidence in the water supply available through a hydrant when we arrive at the scene of a fire. Ensuring that our water supply is ready and available will help us save lives and protect homes and businesses from fire damage,” said chief fire prevention officer, Paul Patry, in a release.
Five summer students are being employed in this year’s program, continuing the development of youth employment in Kingston. The students will receive the required skills, training, and certification to perform their duties.
Fire hydrant inspection and flow-rating will take place Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4:30 pm beginning in early May and expected to finish in September.
Utilities Kingston customers can get more information by visiting utilitieskingston.com/Water/HydrantRating.