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Utilities Kingston to inspect and rate hydrants to support fire protection

May 22, 2019 -

Utilities Kingston has begun its annual fire hydrant inspection and flow-rating program to help support fire protection. During this work, residents may notice discoloured tap water or reduced water pressure and should be assured the water is still safe. They should run their 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. We want residents to know that the water is still safe and they are encouraged to flush their pipes until the water is clear," explains Brad Joyce, director of operations for Utilities Kingston.

All 3,500 hydrants in the municipal water distribution system are inspected each year and 20 per cent of the hydrants are flow-rated on an annual basis. This year, that's 476 hydrants in Zone Eight (east of Bayridge Drive, west of Gardiners Road, south of Princess Street and north of Point Crescent) and Zone Four (east of Coronation Boulevard, Bayridge Drive to the west, and Creekford Road to the south), as well as approximately 100 newly installed hydrants across the city. A map is available from the Utilities Kingston website.

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. Operators use mobile applications on tablets to collect and manage accurate fire hydrant data while in the field. 

Chief Fire Prevention Officer Ted Posadowski says, "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."

Neat to know:

  • The 2019 program employs three summer students, who receive the required skills, training and certification, further developing youth employment in Kingston.
  • Automated field data collection for the fire hydrant inspection program using the location-based application Collector for ArcGIS reduces paperwork and increases productivity by digitizing processes.

Fire hydrant inspection and flow-rating will take place Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until October. Utilities Kingston customers can get more information about the program.