Fire hydrant testing might lead to discolored water in Columbia

Friday, June 27, 2014 | 3:01 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Fire hydrant testing might cause water to look murky and slightly brown Saturday, but the water will still be safe to drink.

The Columbia Fire Department plans to test the hydrants in the Brown Station and Paris Road area north of U.S. 63, Columbia Water and Light spokeswoman Connie Kacprowicz said.

The test is designed to make sure the hydrants have water flow and pressure sufficient to fight fires, according to a Columbia Water and Light news release.

Residents of the area might notice reduced water pressure and temporary water discoloration when the Fire Department flushes a nearby hydrant. Sediment in the pipes can be stirred up to create a cloudy or slightly brown color, according to the release.

Water usually returns to normal color if it runs through the household plumbing for a few minutes, Kacprowicz said. If water does become discolored, Columbia Water and Light recommends residents avoid doing laundry until the water clears.

Commercial fire alarm systems might be temporarily affected as sprinklers might sense a loss of pressure and set off alarms, Kacprowicz said.

The testing is a cooperative program between the Fire Department and Columbia Water and Light. Nearly 6,000 hydrants have been tested by the Fire Department since it started its annual hydrant testing in May.

If there are prolonged problems with discolored water occur, residents should call the Columbia Water and Light after-hours emergency number at 875-2555 or 874-6229.

Supervising editor is Seth Klamann.

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