Fire hydrant maintenance and testing

On this page

Fire hydrant maintenance

Hydrant markers:  Fire hydrant markers improve emergency response times and the safety of residents by making fire hydrants easier to locate in emergencies, at night and in snowy conditions; fire hydrant markers will no longer be seasonally removed and installed. The City of Ottawa maintains more than 23,000 fire hydrants, ensuring they are in operation for firefighters in the event of a fire. 

If a fire hydrant is located on your property, you are responsible for ensuring nothing obstructs access to the hydrant, as per Ottawa's Water By-law, as amended. Ensure vegetation around or near the hydrant does not impede access (e.g. landscaping, shrubs, trees, etc.).

If you spot a damaged or leaking hydrant, please call 3-1-1.

Be a Hydrant Hero! Keep fire hydrants clear of snow

We encourage you to be a hydrant hero this winter and keep your local hydrant clear of snow. Clearing 1.5 meters around a hydrant maintains access for our firefighters and helps them keep you, your family and your community safe.

Contractors are reminded to not pile snow over or against hydrants when clearing pathways and driveways in the winter.

If you are unable to clear the hydrant on your property, please call 3-1-1.

Receive your Hydrant Hero certificate!

To request your electronic Hydrant Hero certificate, please complete the form below. 

Hydrant Hero Certificate Request Form

Students can also request confirmation of their community involvement hours by contacting

Yellow and blue hydrant with 1.5 metres of snow cleared around it.

Fire hydrant testing

Fire hydrant testing ensures fire hydrants are in full working order and have proper flow capacity. To ensure a hydrant is capable of meeting flow requirements, City crews open the hydrants and discharge water from the hydrant at a very high flow rate.

Private fire hydrant testing

To request a City of Ottawa Hydrant crew as part of private fire hydrant testing, please complete the Fire Hydrant Operation Request form.

Impact to residents

While fire hydrant testing is considered routine maintenance, it may result in temporary inconveniences. The testing disturbs sediments in the water distribution system and often results in brown or rust-coloured water. Hydrant testing may also temporarily reduce water pressure. Your regular water pressure will return to normal when testing is complete.

While the City completes testing on your street, we recommend that you turn off your taps for 10 to 20 minutes and to not do laundry. When work crews have left the area, turn on one cold water tap in your home for a few minutes to flush out the system.