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Fire hydrants

Fire hydrant maintenance and testing

Fire hydrant maintenance

The City of Ottawa maintains and tests more than 22,000 fire hydrants to ensure Ottawa Fire Services is equipped in the event of an emergency. If a fire hydrant is located on your property, you are responsible for ensuring nothing on your land obstructs access to the hydrant. Please keep these maintenance tips in mind throughout the year: 

  • If you spot a damaged, leaking, or snow covered hydrant, please call 3-1-1.
  • Ensure vegetation around or near the hydrant does not impede access (e.g. landscaping, shrubs, trees, etc.) in the summer.
  • Residents and contractors are reminded to not pile snow over or against hydrants when clearing pathways and driveways in the winter. Doing so may delay access in emergency situations and is against the City’s Water By-Law.

Fire hydrant testing

Please note: No significant hydrant testing activity is currently scheduled for 2017.

Why do we test fire hydrants?

  • The Fire Hydrant Testing Program is designed to ensure fire hydrants are in full working order and have proper flow capacity.

How do we test a fire hydrant?

  • 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.

How does this affect the street where the testing takes place?

  • While fire hydrant testing is a routine maintenance procedure, 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 reduce regular water pressure, however this should only be limited to when testing is occurring. Your regular water pressure will return to normal once the flow testing is complete.

How do you know when your street will be tested?

  • Please note: No significant hydrant testing activity is currently scheduled for 2017.
  • Check the fire hydrant test schedule to see when your street’s fire hydrants will be tested. Please note the schedule only includes streets impacted by fire hydrant testing. If your street has not been listed, it will not be subject to fire hydrant testing this year. 

What should you do while hydrants are being tested on your street?

  • We recommend that you turn off your taps for 10 to 20 minutes while crews are testing the fire hydrants on your street and to not do laundry during that time. This should allow work crews enough time to complete the test. When work crews have left the area, turn on one of the COLD water taps in your home for a few minutes to flush out the system.