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Fire hydrant flushing now under way

   The Brookhaven Fire Department has begun the twice-annual process of cleaning out the water lines feeding city fire hydrants.

     Firefighters will run each of the city’s 700 to 800 hydrants for several minutes to flush the lines of any gravel, sediment or debris that may have collected.

     Chief Tony Weeks warned city residents they may notice some slight discoloration of their water once a hydrant near their lines has been flushed.

     “I would run the tap several minutes,” Weeks said, though he added the discoloration should pose no harm.

     Weeks said his department flushes all of the city’s hydrants twice a year, usually in the spring and fall. The department just started it’s most recent efforts and Weeks said the job probably won’t be done until about June.

     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.

     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 discoloration except when 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.

     The fire chief also plans to begin a project he believes will aid his department in protecting Brookhaven residents.

     As the hydrants are flushed this spring, water pressure readings will taken from each one.

     Weeks then wants to repaint each hydrant and color-code them according to the available water pressure.

     The barrel of the hydrants would be white or silver, and the tops painted according to standardized designations. Different colors would represent how many gallons per minute a given hydrant can output.

     This allows firefighters to immediately asses what’s available to them upon arriving at a fire, the chief said.