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Fall Flushing

The Brookhaven Fire Department has begun flushing out fire hydrants, and Chief Tony Weeks warns city residents they may notice some slight discoloration of their water.

     The discoloration poses no harm, Weeks said.

     “It’s nothing dangerous,” he said. “Usually, in a day’s time it’s back to normal.”

     Weeks said his department flushes all of the city’s 700 to 800 hydrants twice a year. The department just started its most recent efforts and Weeks said the job probably won’t be done until Christmas.

     Sediment and gravel can collect into the lines over time and flushing is needed to clean the lines and protect the fire department’s pumper trucks, which are at risk should the hydrant lines not be periodically cleaned.

     “You can hear rocks coming out of there,” Weeks said. “If a rock goes into the pump it can mess it up or cause all kind of problems.”

     Weeks recalled an incident not long after he joined the department when a truck’s pump was damaged during a fire by gravel sucked from the nearest hydrant.

     “There you are pumping on a fire and then your water is cut off,” Weeks said.

     Firefighters will open up each hydrant and let the water run for about 10 minutes before shutting them back off. There shouldn’t be any impact on residential water pressure and Weeks said residents shouldn’t notice any discoloration unless there’s a hydrant nearby being flushed.

     Some residents may notice nothing, Weeks said.

     Beyond naturally occurring debris, firefighters have also discovered debris like tennis balls and pinecones stuffed into the hydrant barrels.

     “If kids find a hydrant with the cap a little loose, they’ll put stuff in there just for laughs,” Weeks said.

     Weeks said the department will probably flush hydrants again next spring.