This letter is in response to complaints the City of Hazel Park receives while performing fire hydrant function checks. The Hazel Park Fire Department performs annual maintenance on the hydrant system throughout the city. This is an important service that the Fire Dept. provides for our Water Dept. On a regular basis, the Fire Dept. goes through the city and “flows” water at every other hydrant. This is an imperative function in keeping our system in top operation.
We understand the inconvenience that this can put on our residents. The yellow or rust-colored water you might encounter in your home after we perform our vital safety checks is nothing more than residual sediment in the municipal water system. The discolored water does not pose any health risks. However, it is advisable to run the water until clear prior to washing laundry to avoid any potential discoloration of fabrics.
Every effort is made to inform residents that we are performing this crucial operation. It is posted on the marquee outside the Fire Dept. (22830 Russell) as well as on the City’s Facebook page and official website. Furthermore, signs are placed in the areas being flushed on the relevant days.
It is impossible to always give advance notice in a specific area, as it is five to six on-duty firefighters that perform this operation. In addition to these important hydrant duties they are also responsible for responding to emergencies. For this reason, some days it is only possible to inspect a handful of hydrants, while other days it is possible to check dozens.
The City of Hazel Park is operating with reduced staffing in both the Fire and Water Departments, requiring employees to perform multiple functions simultaneously. Complaints about this vital service have come in each and every year since our system was established. We work very hard to inform everyone how crucial this function is to the safety of our community and the good working order of our water system.
We know that it is better to have discolored water once a year than to have homes burn down because the hydrant system is not functioning, or lose water service for an extended period of time because we failed to catch a problem with the water infrastructure.
Richard Story Chief, Hazel Park Fire Department
Christopher DuBerg Director, Department of Public Works