Utilities Kingston performing fire hydrant maintenance across the city

Utilities Kingston. Photo by Lucas Mulder/Kingstonist.

Utilities Kingston is now inspecting and flow rating fire hydrants, as part of its proactive annual maintenance program. The company said that this work ensures the ongoing integrity of the drinking water system and helps support fire protection in Kingston.

Residents may notice discoloured tap water or reduced water pressure and can be assured the water is still safe, according to a release from Utilities Kingston. “They should run their cold water tap until it is clear,” the utility company stated.

Flow rating requires operators to 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, according to the release. The water is still safe and residents are encouraged by Utilities Kingston to flush their pipes until the water is clear.

“Our annual program to inspect and flow rate municipal fire hydrants helps ensure that a high quality of drinking water is maintained from the time water leaves the treatment plant, as it is distributed throughout the system and all the way to your tap,” said Heather Roberts, Director of Water and Wastewater Services. “The program ensures the integrity of Kingston’s water distribution system.”

“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,” added Chief Fire Prevention Officer Ted Posadowski

All 3,563 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, according to Utilities Kingston. This year, that will be 875 hydrants in Zone Eight (east of Bayridge Drive, west of Gardiners Road, south of Princess Street and north of Point Cresent) 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 of hydrant zones 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, according to the release. Once the hydrants are rated, they are marked blue, green, orange or red to let firefighters know the flow rate. Utilities Kingston noted that operators use mobile applications on tablets to collect and manage accurate fire hydrant data while in the field.

Utilities Kingston provided the following “neat” details:

  • The 2023 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 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. until December, the utility company noted. Utilities Kingston customers can get more information about the program by visiting www.UtilitiesKingston.com/Water/HydrantRating.

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