PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

July 17, 2013

PA purchasing new fire hydrants

Sherry Koonce
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — The city of Port Arthur has allocated $146,081 for the purchase of 75 new fire hydrants to replace those that are no longer working.

Typically, of the city’s 2,175 hydrants about 50 to 75 are replaced annually, Kelley Eldridge, Port Arthur director of utility operations, said.

“Fifty years is about as long as you can get one to last. You have to do about 40 every year just to keep up,” Eldridge said.

City Council at its most recent regular meeting approved the purchase for this year’s hydrant replacements from HD Supply of Beaumont.

The American Flow Control hydrant manufactured in Beaumont is widely regarded as one of the best units available, Eldridge indicated.

The city plans to purchase 25 each of three different sizes to replace those hydrants deemed inoperable.

Port Arthur fire chief Larry Richard said there were currently 100 hydrants out of service, meaning the flow has fallen below 300 gallons a minute.

Those that are not operable are painted silver by the fire department and reported to the city for replacement.

Every two years city hydrants are flowtested. The fire department is in the process of doing that now, Richard said.

Often it is not a problem with a hydrant, but rather with the city’s aging water lines, Eldridge said.

Fire hydrants in residential areas are required to be spaced every 500 to 700 feet, Eldridge said.

“One of our biggest problems in Port Arthur is not that the fire hydrants are not good, its the old water lines, they are just corroded,” Eldridge said.

In a separate project, all hydrants will be replaced in Sabine Pass using hurricane recovery money.

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