hydrant flow test

The concept of the fire hydrant is quite old. Because there has always been an urge to get the wet to the red. Patent history for the true inventor of the hydrant is gone. Yet, many credit Frederick Graff, Sr.

At the start of the 19th century, Mr. Graff was the Chief Engineer of the Philadelphia Water Works. His design consisted of a hose/faucet outlet in a wooden barrel. Design has come a long way since then.

However, keeping the water and pipes flowing has not. Once hydrants were connected to municipal water systems, the concept of a hydrant flow test was conceived. Today, many believe these tests are a waste of water and harm the environment. In reality, these type of tests are utilized to protect the environment and people.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides initial guidance on flow tests. The local fire department and water company work together to finalize a schedule. From there, the process involves a few steps.

First, a small flow of water is released from the hydrant in order for those involved to determine the average pounds per square inch (PSI) of pressure. Further incremental adjustments are made in the flow. This allows representatives of both the fire department and water company to check the quality of the fluid.

If the pressure is lower than the recommended numbers provided by the NFPA, further investigation is required. The problem could be connected to clogged or corroded pipes. These would need to be repaired before the hydrant is returned to operation.

Or, it could be the hydrant itself. Worn pieces may required replacement. Or, perhaps the entire unit would need to be swapped out. In that situation, a second flow test would need to be completed on the new equipment before a green light was given.

As mentioned, the flow test is not a waste of water. Utilizing tools from organizations like Hurco Tech, utilities and first responders can check the quality of fluid. This gives them comprehension on its viability to quench a fire. And, a properly-tested hydrant gives an extra sense of security for property owners and firefighters.

If you want to learn more, visit the NFPA site for regulations. Or, contact your local fire department.