Hydrant Maintenance, Inspection And Testing Guidance – What You Should Know

An Ounce Of Maintenance Is Worth A Pound Of Cure

A fire hydrant like any other mechanical device needs to be inspected and maintained to ensure it is in perfect operating condition. Because of the winter weather conditions we experience here in Maine and the greater Northeast area, it’s important to consider that a hydrant may have been damaged over the winter by snow removal or a vehicle. In some cases they may be damaged and a utility might not find out until the hydrant is cranked fully open.

As a water utility, you may combine a lot of preventative maintenance into the same procedure when conducting a standard bi-annual inspection of hydrant assets. Things such as testing the movement of nozzles, pumper caps and the operational valve. By checking that all these essential hydrant parts are in good working order, you have a much greater chance for them to properly function when you need them or when they go through routine testing.

AWWA – Manual of Water Supply Practices

Understanding how to properly inspect, test, and maintain a hydrant is vital to the success of the procedure. The American Water Works Association offers a detailed guide to assist with these operational procedures – M17 Fire Hydrants.

This utility operations manual provides drawings and approved procedures for fire hydrant design, installation, and operation and maintenance practices. It traces the development of the different styles and contains detailed instructions for testing. Definitions, diagrams, and record-keeping tips are included as well as easy-to-follow flow-testing procedures to quickly obtain valuable distribution system information.

The bulk of the material in this manual refers to dry-barrel and wet-barrel fire hydrants; however, information is also included on high-pressure and flush-type hydrants. Installation practices described are consistent with AWWA C600-10 Installation of Ductile Iron Water Mains and Their Appurtenances.

Includes an illustrated guide to fire hydrants, organized by manufacturer name.

Included with the purchase of M17 are two 16×22 printable PDFs:

  • AWWA Poster – Dry-Barrel
  • AWWA Poster – Wet-Barrel


We highly recommend this material as an educational resource and reference for hydrant inspection maintenance and testing. A link to purchase the manual can be found here: Purchase Guide. while a preview of the materials can be accessed here: Preview Material 

Download (PDF)

Fire Hydrant Troubleshooting (Frequently Asked Questions)

Whether it be used as a training resource to help better understand the cause of a hydrant problem and how to resolve it, or simply to have as a cheat sheet to have on hand in the office or field, this document by Mueller lays it all out: Fire Hydrant Troubleshooting FAQ’s. As a relevant resource, it can be effectively used for many recommended maintenance, inspection and testing operations.

Knowledge Is Key

By taking the right steps to understand and implement hydrant inspection maintenance and testing processes, you can ensure your assets and utilities are ready to perform in the case of an emergency. If your water utility needs assistance with these processes, check for a local servicer near you.

Works Cited

“M17 FIRE HYDRANTS.” M17 Fire Hydrants: Installation, Field Testing, and Maintenance, Fifth Edition, American Water Works Association, https://engage.awwa.org/PersonifyEbusiness/Store/Product-Details/productId/43997259.

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