Enid tracking water pressure in hydrants

Enid tracking water pressure in hydrants

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The city of Enid is tackling water problems one fire hydrant at a time, and they're doing it through a color coded system.

Enid uses a national standard from the NFPA to color the tops of hydrants. Blue means a hydrant has a flow of 1,500 gallons per minute, green has 1,000-1,500, orange is 500-1,000 and red is less than 500 gallons per minute. Those living near a red hydrant should be aware, fire crews may get little to no water out of it.

"That's not good. That's by my house. That's scary," said one resident who lives by a red hydrant.

"I don't consider that a crisis," said Enid Fire Marshal Ken Helms. "It's just another issue where we have some challenges before us and we have to preplan."

Every year Enid fire crews check the water pressure on all 1,900 hydrants in the city. If a hydrant's pressure changes, so does the color. The fire department has mapped out where every hydrant is and it's color. The information is used when responding to fires.

"We've identified those areas where we have weak hydrants and automatically dispatch our tanker to those areas," Helms.

Helms says little or no water flow can be caused by old, small pipes, a valve being closed or it could be on the fringe of the city's water lines. The city wants to determine the reason for every hydrant, so it can decrease the number of reds.

"It's something that our city leaders do need to look at in order to provide the resources we need for the future, and I think they're doing that," Helms said.

Already in the last year Enid added two new water towers and crews replace old pipes as they replace old roads. Helms says in the last year two-thirds of the city's hydrants increased water flow.

"A lot of it is planning and knowing what we have and learning to work with it," Helms said. "Then working continually to improve what we have."

As Enid continues to expand and businesses seek to build there, updating and continuing water lines is becoming more and more important.

"These are types of issues that every city is going to deal with," Helms adds. He says every city has its "red" hydrants, but not every city uses the color coded system.

Helms says he has had to deny new business applications because they want to build structures on the city's outskirts where there aren't water lines. He says figuring out how to improve water issues is the key to Enid's economic success and safety in the future.

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