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Fire hydrant maintenance and testing

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.

Fire hydrant maintenance

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.

Keep hydrants clear of snow.


Fire hydrant testing

Please note: No significant hydrant testing activity is currently scheduled for 2018.

The Fire Hydrant Testing Program is designed to ensure 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.

Impact to residents

While fire hydrant testing is considdered 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.

Testing schedule

Please note: No significant hydrant testing activity is currently scheduled for 2018.

  • 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.