During the months of April through August Chelan County Fire District #3 will be inspecting the fire hydrants in our community. Fire crews will be out between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. though out the week and weekends until all 300 hydrants are inspected. The inspection involves removing all caps and lubricating the threads as well as flowing water to ensure that each hydrant is operating properly.
All fire hydrants in our community are known as dry barrel hydrants, meaning that there is no water in the barrel of the hydrant until the hydrant is opened. This helps ensure that the hydrants will not freeze in cold weather and will therefore be available when needed for a fire. After every use and inspection, the hydrants are closed, and the water drains out. Hydrants that do not drain properly, or with other problems, are reported to the City of Leavenworth for further maintenance.
This annual testing is essential to ensure that our fire hydrants are operating efficiently for fire protection purposes. Our hydrant testing and maintenance program is also a factor in setting insurance rates established by the Washington State Rating Bureau for our community.
Along with maintaining the fire rating, the testing monitors the health of the city’s water system, identifies weak areas in the system, removes materials that settle in the hydrant, and cleans out the lines. Checking each hydrant improves fire crew knowledge of hydrant locations. Fire department personnel will check to make sure there is adequate clearance around all fire hydrants, and property owners should clear weeds and brush from blocked hydrants to aid in their easy identification and access. The International Fire Code requires at least 36 inches of clear area around the hydrant for proper access and helps assure that the hydrant is visible from the road.
During hydrant inspections, residents might experience temporarily low water pressure or discolored (rusty) water. The discoloration of water will not harm an individual, although it may stain light colored clothing. Chelan County Fire District #3 advises that you run your faucets until you have clean water. Do not run your hot water or do laundry until your water is clear.
If you have any questions or should you at any time notice a hydrant in need of repair, please contact Chelan County Fire District #3 at 509-548-7711.