City hydrants to be tested

By Frank Lewis

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The Portsmouth Fire Department will conduct fire hydrant testing in various areas of the city including Sciotoville beginning Monday, June 15 through Friday, June 19 from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.

“Basically we go out and we take several readings on the hydrant that allows us to get a rough estimate of what a hydrant is capable of delivering,” Portsmouth Fire Chief Bill Raison said. “It helps us identify areas that don’t have as good a water supply. It helps identify hydrants that may be broken, difficult to open.”

During hydrant testing, residents may notice discolored water or air in the lines. Raison said the discoloration or air in the lines should dissipate a couple of hours after hydrant testing.

“Sometimes we run in to them and they’re old and they’ve gotten really difficult to open and we pass that on to the water department,” Raison said. “They’ll come out and either repair it or replace it. We’ll get them open one way or another but if you find them when they’re a problem and get them fixed, it’s a lot better than – something’s on fire and you have to have a five foot pipe wrench to get a hydrant open because it’s got a problem.”

He said if discoloration is noticed it is recommended that you refrain from doing laundry, especially involving white clothes, until the water clears.

The hydrants are tested each year to ensure they are working properly and to meet the requirements set forth by the Insurance Service Organization (ISO). The city’s ISO rating directly affects homeowners and business insurance rates.

“A large portion of our ISO rating is based on the water supply system,” Raison said. “and part of that assessment when they’re looking at the water supply when it comes to fire protection, they want to see we’re out there every year flow testing those hydrants to ensure they’re all in proper working condition.”

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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