Why Fire Hydrants Get Flushed…Even During A Drought

Lakewood Department of Water Resources staff member.

Water departments, including Lakewood’s, must occasionally flush fire hydrants to insure water quality or to clean new water mains after construction. The temporary flow of water in such cases is so strong or filled with construction debris that it’s unfeasible to capture and reuse. Lakewood water crews are very careful and the amount of water used in these limited but necessary instances amounts to less than 0.05% of total water use in Lakewood’s service area.

Because of the drought, Lakewood is temporarily suspending one major aspect of hydrant flushing, which is the city’s annual program to test every hydrant along with each water main valve and flush the mains of rusty sediment in preparation for peak summer flows. In this preventative maintenance program, water crews traditionally work neighborhood by neighborhood across the city from November through April. The total amount of water used in this operation last year was 0.43% of total water use. That water will be saved this year because of the drought.

However, this preventive maintenance program is important for Lakewood’s long-term system integrity, so city water experts hope to re-start the program next year if the drought lets up and water conditions allow.