Fire Hydrant Flow Testing

NFPA 291

Determining water
Main Capabilities

In today's ever-growing age, infrastructure addition has been steadily increasing. With each added connection comes added demand on the existing water distribution system. Before additions are approved, Fire Flow Testing is required to be completed to accurately determine the water mains available capacity. Velocity only uses specifically engineered equipment to conduct Fire Flow Testing.

Fire Hydrant Flow Tests:

  • Determining pressure and flow-producing capabilities at any location within the distribution system.
  • Determining how much water is available for fighting fire. 
  • As a means of determining the general condition of the distribution system. Conditions such as heavily tuberculated water mains or those with heavy wall deposits.
  • Determining closed or partially closed watermain valves. 
  • Determining insurance premiums.

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Fire Flow Tests Available

Individual Fire Hydrant Flushing

The procedure of flushing a single hydrant will, indicate the flow rate for the specific hydrant in use.

Available Fire Flow Testing

A flow test involving two or more hydrants will evaluate the water supply available within the distribution system at the residual hydrant point.
  • Hydrant fire flow testing is the only positive means to determine the quantity and rate of water flow for firefighting at various locations within the distribution system.  
  • Since test results indicate weak points in a water distribution system, they can be used by water and fire departments when improvements in an existing system are planned and when extensions to newly developed areas are designed.  
  • Tests repeated at the same locations each year may reveal a loss in the carrying capacity of water mains and a need for strengthening certain arterial mains.  
  • Fire Flow tests should be run after any extensive water main improvements have been made, or at least once every five years, if there have been no changes in the water distribution system to an area.  
  • According to the NFPA 291 4.13.1: Public fire hydrants should be fire flow tested every 5 years to verify the capacity and marking of the hydrant.  
  • According to the NFPA 291 4.13.2: Public fire hydrants should be flushed at least annually to verify operation, address repairs, and demonstrate reliability.