By Chief Ira Brown, Jr
July 26, 2021

It is the time of the year when The Eighth Ward VFD performs its annual fire hydrant flow testing. The testing provides the department with the flow pressure and volume of water from each hydrant, as well as reveals hydrants with mechanical problems. Flow testing is one of the ways the Department ensures hydrants are operable and provide proper water flow during an emergency. This is also the time for the Department to remove rust, obstructions, and to paint the hydrants according to code.

If you see our crew out, be sure to stop by for a chat.

Hydrant Color-coding
Hydrants are painted in accordance with American Water Works Association and National Fire Protection Association standards. Hydrant color-coding allows firefighters to quickly assess water flow capabilities when responding to emergencies. (see photo)

Obstructed/Hidden Fire Hydrants
There's nothing worse for firefighters than arriving at a structure fire and not being able to locate a fire hydrant. It is very important for property owners to avoid planting vegetation or constructing obstructions that would block the view of hydrants or prevent firefighters from being able to use the hydrant in an emergency. (see photo)

Flow Testing FAQs

What Is The Value To The Community To Have Hydrants Flow Tested?
• The fire department is able to determine proper operations of valves, visible and audible leaks, water pressure, flow of gallons per minute and ability to flush out sediment in the main. This practice not only extends the life of our water mains, but improves water quality.

Why is the water pressure low?
• Your water pressure may be reduced while hydrants in the area are flowed, but will never stop. The pressure will return quickly.

Why does my water look discolored after hydrant flow testing?
• During the flushing process, it is not uncommon for a yellow, brown or reddish tint to appear in the water. Harmless mineral deposits settle in the water mains and flushing the fire hydrants stirs the deposits sometimes causing discoloration of the water.

Is the discolored water safe to drink?
• Yes. Even though the water may be discolored, it is safe to drink. Compounds such as iron, manganese and other sediments make it discolored, but they do not have health effects. Although the water may not be visually appealing, it is safe to drink and continues to meet all federal and state drinking water standards. There is no health hazard associated with the discolored water.

How do I get my water clear?
• Most people prefer to drink clear water, to do this wait approximately one hour after the hydrant flushing has been discontinued in your area. Turn only cold water faucets on, preferably bathtubs or showers due to the larger volume, and let run for five minutes or until the water becomes clear.

Doesn’t flow testing waste water?
• No one wants to waste water; however, flow testing is necessary to maintain high water quality and to ensure hydrants are in proper working order. Flow testing is an annual requirement of the fire departments that directly affects the fire department’s grading and the homeowner’s property insurance premium. This requirement is from the Property Insurance Association of Louisiana.

Can I do laundry during flow testing?
• Sediment may cause rust-colored stains. Please run your cold water before you do your laundry. If it is discolored, wait for half an hour and try again. Residents may also want to run their washer through a rinse cycle once before doing laundry. Do not dry your clothes in the dryer if they are discolored. Wait until they have been re-washed in clear water.

If my clothes become stained due to discolored water while doing laundry, is this permanent?
• No. You may purchase laundry additives, commercial products for taking rust out of clothes from a local drug or hardware store. The clothes can be re-washed following the instructions and the rust will be removed.