July 1, 2020
The Starkville Fire Department, in partnership with Starkville Utilities, will soon begin testing fire hydrants to ensure they’re in proper working condition to strengthen local firefighting efforts. During the two-month test period, residents may notice temporary water discoloration that is normal and not harmful to health.
“Our mission is to be responsible stewards of Starkville’s water system and ensure that our customers’ water supply is safe,” said Jacob Forrester, assistant general manager of Starkville Utilities. “Even though discolored water is a common and harmless side effect of hydrant pressure testing, we want to minimize those instances as much as possible and help customers quickly resolve issues.”
The Fire Department tests hydrants every two years to ensure that Starkville’s water system has adequate pressure and flow to help crews suppress blazes. Routine testing allows Starkville Utilities to proactively detect and repair malfunctioning valves and components that could affect fire hydrant performance.
“Pressure testing is an important part of Starkville’s emergency-response efforts and helps improve the safety of homes and businesses,” said Fire Chief Charles Yarbrough. “Our plan is to conduct testing as efficiently and safely as possible while minimizing disruptions to residents.”
Crews test hydrants in pairs and measure residual pressure when both hydrants are open. Occasionally, high flow rates disrupt sediment that naturally builds up inside pipes, resulting in temporarily discolored water in nearby homes.
Customers who notice discolored water are encouraged to contact Starkville Utilities. In addition, they should run cold water in a ground-floor bathtub a few minutes to flush water lines.
“Many times discoloration in water is a localized problem, and running cold water in a bathtub will clear the lines,” Forrester said. “Whatever the case, Starkville Utilities is prepared to respond quickly and appropriately to customers who report discolored water.”
Hydrant testing will begin July 7 and run through August. Crews will start with hydrants on Main Street in downtown Starkville and work their way out to surrounding areas and neighborhoods until they test all 1,300 of the city’s hydrants. Starkville Utilities will post the testing schedule on social media to keep customers updated.
Starkville Utilities is a public utility serving 14,000 residences, businesses and industries in Starkville, Mississippi as well as Mississippi State University. Its mission is to supply safe, reliable, and cost-effective electric and water service of superior quality and value that improves the lives of its customers.