Next in our series of articles about how OCWA helps protect Central New York residents from fire is a summary of our Hydrant Inspection Program.

Did you know that OCWA has over 14,000 fire hydrants in our five-county service territory?  

As a public water system, we are responsible for maintaining and collecting information on all of our fire hydrants annually. Our Hydrant Inspection Program includes multiple annual inspections of virtually every hydrant in our system to ensure that they are in proper and safe working order, per American Water Works Association (AWWA) standards.

There are many issues that can prevent fire hydrants from working properly throughout the year, including structural damage, freezing and malfunctioning components. We evaluate all these issues during our annual inspections so that in the event of an emergency fire departments can have confidence in hooking up to our use hydrants.

With over 14,000 hydrants, this is a very large effort that our field maintenance team works diligently throughout the year to complete. With the help of our in-house maintenance staff, we endeavor to ensure that hydrants will be fully functional in the event of a fire emergency.

Since 2017, annual inspections have been made more efficient and accurate as a result of our transition from paper logs to a fully integrated Hydrant Program, utilizing our existing geographic information system (GIS) platform to record, assess and provide upkeep on our fire hydrants. Field workers are now capable of collecting information using the Collector app for ArcGIS on tablets and smartphones.

The information collected is also helpful for fire departments throughout our service area. Fire chiefs can request inspection reports and flow testing information on fire hydrants located within their service areas to know which hydrants have been inspected and cleared as well as how much water they can pump at the end of their system. These reports also help fire departments obtain their Insurance Service Office, Inc. (ISO) rating.

OCWA’s Hydrant Inspection Program allows for greater accountability, accuracy and responsiveness while enhancing our communication and information-sharing capabilities with fire departments to better carry out their duties.

For more details on OCWA’s recent upgrades to its Hydrant Inspection Program, please see the attached informational brochure