September 6, 2019
The City of South Bend has contracted with Shambaugh & Son to conduct hydrant flow testing on nearly 800 fire hydrants throughout the city. Hydrant flow tests began this week and will go through the end of November. This effort will ensure adequate water supply and pressure is delivered to the hydrants when they are needed in a fire emergency. As a corollary benefit, this is one factor that can help improve the City’s Insurance Services Office rating.
Flow testing is conducted to make sure hydrants are functioning correctly and valves are working properly. It also measures the amount of water available from an individual hydrant. By determining the amount of water pressure, it allows firefighters to know if there’s adequate amount of water from a hydrant to extinguish a fire during an emergency. It will reveal hydrants in the system that may need repair or mechanical and performance issues with water mains, as well as other correctable factors that may cause poor flow in a hydrant.
Data gathered from hydrant flow testing will help firefighters when responding to a fire emergency by ensuring adequate water supply in the event of a major fire that could require the use of multiple hydrants.
“It’s important to detect any issues with our hydrants and correct them now to ensure they are working properly in time of an emergency,” says Steve Cox, chief of the South Bend Fire Department.
During testing, residents may see a temporary drop in water pressure and may experience discolored water. If this occurs, residents should run three cold-water faucets at full stream until the water runs clear again.
The City plans to conduct flow testing on all 4,636 public hydrants over the next five years.