Section: News

Village hydrants to be flushed, possible water disruptions

Village hydrants to be flushed, possible water disruptions

Flushing will occur from Oct. 3 to Oct. 21. | SARA HALEBLIAN

Starting at the beginning of October, the Village of Gambier will conduct its annual flushing of the area’s fire hydrants to ensure that they are adequately equipped to fight potential fires. There are 88 fire hydrants within the Village that will be individually flushed starting on Monday and lasting through Oct. 21. The water supply in surrounding areas may be temporarily disrupted as these flushings occur. 

What appears to be a tedious process is actually a necessary precaution that helps the fire department assess the community’s capacity to protect against fires. When flushed, the hydrant’s valves open, allowing for water to flow out as it would if it was being used against a fire. Hydrant flushings serve a variety of purposes. First, flushings confirm that the valves open and function properly. The rush of water from the pipes clears out any sediment that could clog its passage. During the flushing process, the fire department will also measure the flow, which is used to rate the town’s ability to fight fires for insurance purposes, according to the Insurance Services Office’s (ISO) standards. Vice President for Facilities, Planning and Sustainability Ian Smith said that the Mount Vernon Fire Department, which controls the Gambier station, has improved the town’s ISO rating from a 4 to a 3 in a single year. “Our community firefighting capability is now considered to be in the 85th percentile nationally,” said Smith. 

The hydrant flushings will cause the water to fire at its full potential, so it is likely that nearby areas will face some minor disturbances in their water supply. Smith cautioned that buildings located near a hydrant that is being flushed may experience a temporary change in water quality. “Impacts noticeable by residents both on and off campus are reduced water flow, reduced water pressure and discoloration due to the sediment,” he said. 

To mitigate the transient pressure drop that causes these effects, the valves are opened slowly, though there is still a chance that residents in affected buildings might see minor disturbances to their water pressure and quality. These changes are safe and routine, and any discoloration will go away after the water runs for a few minutes. Residents will also know ahead of time what to expect: Director of Residential Life Leah Reuber confirmed that students will be notified of nearby flushing prior to its occurrence.

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