Water they doing? Fire Department flushing hydrants around town

Published 12:25 pm Wednesday, April 19, 2023

The Brookhaven Fire Department is systematically flushing out fire hydrants all over the city.

Firefighter Fernando Dillon will mark his fifth anniversary with the department next month. His partner in the plug-flushing endeavor is one of the department’s newest additions, AJ Robinson. Wednesday, the men were working along Penn Street as Dillon explained what they were doing.

“We’re measuring the pressure on each of the plugs, to make sure they’re working like they’re supposed to,” Dillon said.

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When the department does its twice-annual flushing of the city’s approximately 800 hydrants in the spring and fall, each plug is usually left open for about 10 minutes to ensure the lines are cleared of any sediment or debris. This time is a bit different.

“Some of the plugs will need to be upgraded this year, so we’re checking all of them to make sure they work right,” Dillon said. “Chief (Jeff Ainsworth) said to just let them run until the water turns clear and we can shut them off.”

Dillon attached a funnel-like device with a pressure gauge to the antique plug on Penn Street before Robinson opened up the valve and let the water flow into the drainage ditch. Within seconds, the firemen could see the pressure was at a good level. In less than one minute, the water flowed clear and Robinson began to close off the valve.

“This one will need to be replaced just because it’s so old,” Dillon said. “Like this, we can do about 25 plugs a day. When we have to run them for 10 minutes, we can only do maybe 15.”

After securing the plug and putting their equipment back into the pickup, the men greeted some people who stopped to say hello, then climbed in the cab and drove down the street to the next hydrant, where the flushing continued.