|Town is working on solving the problem of low water flow|
Staff Photo by Charles Boothe:
Several fire hydrants on Diamond Avenue, West End Street, Anderson Street and Windsor Drive were found to have inadequate water flow when tested recently. Town Manager James Ervin said the covered hydrants are temporary.
Monday, August 6, 2012
Over the past few years, the Town of Rocky Mount has used many of its resources to ensure that the water system is safe and sound, both for consumption and fire safety, according to Town Manager James Ervin.
One aspect of ensuring system integrity is fire hydrant flushing and testing, periodically conducted by the Rocky Mount Water Department, Ervin said. While flushing helps improve drinking water quality, flow testing of the hydrants is important to assure that all hydrants are properly functioning and will provide enough water pressure for fire fighting.
Data from the tests is used to determine the paint color used on the hydrant tops, which indicates the amount of water the fire department can expect from each hydrant, he added.
Recently, hydrants were tested along Diamond Avenue, West End Street, Anderson Street and Windsor Drive. A number of these hydrants were found to have flow rates below what the fire department feels is adequate, Ervin said. Use of these particular hydrants could be damaging to the water mains and could draw contaminants into the water system because of negative pressure created in a fire-fighting situation.
"When our fire department is responding to an emergency call, it is important that our firemen know what to expect when they connect to a fire hydrant," Ervin said. "Valuable time could be lost if fire hoses are connected to hydrants that may not provide optimum flow to adequately fight a fire."
The town is working proactively to address the situation, Ervin said. The town has decided that fire hydrants with less than 500 gallons per minute of flow and less than 20 psi of residual water pressure would be clearly marked as "out of service" until the problem can be resolved.
At the request of Fire Chief Charlie Robertson, these hydrants will remain valved "on" so that, if necessary, the fire department can still use them when the situation demands, Ervin said.
"These hydrants in question have been covered with bright orange bags that are labeled 'out of service' so that our firemen will know immediately how to respond in an effective way," he said. "Bagging our fire hydrants is only intended as a temporary measure. Our engineering consultant is currently preparing a list of options aimed at restoring better flow and pressure to the affected areas."
The goal of the town's fire hydrant testing program is to support the efforts of firemen in protecting the lives and property of our citizens, Ervin said.
"As our testing continues, we will continue to take action to assure that all of our fire hydrants will be ready when needed," he added.