“Dude, The Fire Hydrant By My House Is Totally Broken!”
"The fire hydrant near my house is broken. There's, like, water pouring out of it everywhere..."
That was a call I received on Friday.
The hydrant isn't broken. The city of Tyler did this on purpose. They're flushing the water lines. It's OK.
They have to do this, usually once per year, for good reason.
1) It flushes out the sediment that might have collected in the water lines.
2) It tests the hydrant itself. City workers will periodically swing by and check the hydrant while it's being flushed and look for leaks so that they can determine if the hydrant needs to be replaced. This assures that if there is a fire in the neighborhood, the hydrant will be working properly.
"But, dude! They're wasting all that water!"
Well, if you want, you can grab a few gallon jugs and take some home for safe keeping and posterity! You might want to boil it, though. Remember, they're flushing out the gross stuff.
But, in reality, no - the water isn't being wasted. See it going down the drain there? It's going to be recycled and sent through the water treatment center. The water and fire departments know what they're doing. Rest assured that you will eventually shower with that water or flush it down the toilet. It's all good.
"I was taking my dog for a walk and he drank some of that water."
"But he, like, ingested the dank water. Will he die?"
...No. Well, yes...eventually. But not because of the water from the fire hydrant.
"It's been pouring out for a really long time..."
Yeah. It's supposed to. Usually a day or so. Might be an entire weekend sometimes.
You might not see them but workers are periodically coming by and checking it out.
It's cool. Nobody forgot about it. The Fire Department will come by and turn it off when it's scheduled to be turned off.
"But, bro...my water pressure is totally low now."
That will happen. Because, y'know - the water in your neighborhood is being flushed and stuff. You'll just have to deal with it for a few days. They're doing this so you don't get sick from drinking icky water and so they can put out fires...so...y'know...just man up and be a team player.
"I dunno, man - that sounds kinda like socialistic...and stuff."
Really? We're talking about fire hydrants...
"But Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump and...I've been watching too much news. I forget what we were talking about."
The fire hydrants in Tyler.
"Right. But what if Donald Trump totally wins the election? That would be weird."
Totally. But they might contest the Republican convention, so...y'know, he might run as an independent candidate, maybe?
"Yeah, still, though. Then it could be Hilary Clinton. I don't know if I like her or not."
Meh. We'll just have to wait and see, I guess.
"We were talking about something..."
The fire hydrants.
"OK so what if a fire happens, like...now?"
Nah, just kidding.
The Fire Department knows that your hydrant is being flushed and they have reserves on the trucks to put out that fire you "accidentally" started.
"Water tastes kinda gross...and it's, like, way brownish..."
Yep. Let it run for a few minutes and it will be fine. A bit of an inconvenience, sure. But if they don't do this once per year, your water will taste like crap and be way brownish ALL THE TIME.
Otherwise, just go buy some bottled water to tide you over for a few days. It'll cost you, probably, $10 max.
"Can my kids go play in the water?"
Well, yeah, if you want. There's nothing dangerous about the water itself and kids used to do this all the time back in the day. But the flow is pretty fierce. Little ones, especially, probably shouldn't be near it. Why don't you just take them to the pool instead? What is this, Brooklyn, 1945?
So...if you see a "broken" hydrant...it's not really broken.
The people who do this sort of stuff for a living are just doing their job.
Also, stop calling me about broken fire hydrants.