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Water Supply/Fire Hydrants

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Hydrant flow testThe City of Franklin Fire Department conducts annual flow testing of City hydrants November 1st through April 30th.  The testing provides the department with the flow pressure and volume of water from each hydrant as well as reveals hydrants with mechanical problems.  Flow testing is one of the ways the City ensures hydrants are operable and provide proper water flow during an emergency. 

Flow Testing FAQs:

What Is The Value To The Community To Have Hydrants Flow Tested?

The Fire Department is able to determine proper operations of valves, visible and audible leaks, water pressure, flow of gallons per minute and ability to flush out sediment in the main. This practice not only extends the life of our water mains but improves water quality.

Why Is The Water Pressure Low?

Your water pressure may be reduced while hydrants in the area are flowed but will never stop. The pressure will return quickly.

 Why Does My Water Look Discolored After Hydrant Flow Testing?

During the flushing process, it is not uncommon for a yellow, brown or reddish tint to appear in the water. Harmless mineral deposits settle in the water mains and flushing the fire hydrants stirs the deposits sometimes causing discoloration of the water.

 Is The Discolored Water Safe To Drink?

Yes. Even though the water may be discolored it is safe to drink. Compounds such as iron, manganese and other sediments make it discolored, but they do not have health effects. Although the water may not be visually appealing, it is safe to drink and continues to meet all federal and state drinking water standards. There is no health hazard associated with the discolored water.

 How Do I Get My Water Clear?

Most people prefer to drink clear water, to do this wait approximately one hour after the hydrant flushing has been discontinued in your area. Turn only cold water faucets on, preferably bathtubs or showers due to the larger volume, and let run for five minutes or until the water becomes clear.

 Doesn’t Flow Testing Waste Water?

No one wants to waste water; however, flow testing is necessary to maintain high water quality and to ensure hydrants are in proper working order.  It is a standard practice in the water industry.

 Can I Do Laundry During Flow Testing?

Sediment may cause rust-colored stains.  Please run your cold water before you do your laundry.  If it is discolored, wait for half an hour and try again.  Residents may also want to run their washer through a rinse cycle once before doing laundry.  Do not dry your clothes in the dryer if they are discolored.  Wait until they have been re-washed in clear water.

 If My Clothes Became Stained While Doing Laundry, Is This Permanent?

No. You may purchase laundry additives, commercial products for taking rust out of clothes from a local drug or hardware store. The clothes can be re-washed following the instructions and the rust will be removed.

 Water Quality Issues: 

Franklin Water Management Department

615-794-4554 7 AM – 4 PM (M-F)

or 615-791-3260 after hours


Hydrant Flow Testing Inquiries:

Franklin Fire Department


8AM – 5 PM (M-F)


Firefighters painting a hydrant

  Image courtesy of the Tennessean

Firefighters also perform maintenance on the fire hydrants which includes painting the tops (called the bonnet) and the bottom (barrel) to a predefined color coding system.  This color coding provides information to firefighters and water utility districts on the water flow available from the hydrant.


The bonnets are color coded in four categories in accordance with American Water Works Association and National Fire Protection Association standards:

Blue              +1,500 gallons per minute

     Hydrant, blue

Green 1,000-1,499 gallons per minute

     Hydrant, green

Orange   500-999 gallons per minute

     Hydrant, orange

Red 499 gallons or less per minute

     Hydrant, red

Black Out of service      Hydrant, black
Blue top hydrant


Hydrants with less than 500 gallons of water per minute cannot be effectively used for firefighting.

Hydrants with a yellow barrel are generally part of the public water system.  Private hydrants are painted with silver barrels to identify that they are part of a fire protection system separated from the public water mains by a meter and backflow device. 

Yellow fire hydrant

Silver fire hydrant


Obstructed/hidden Fire Hydrants


There's nothing worse for firefighters than arriving at a house fire and not being able to locate a fire hydrant.  It is very important for property owners to avoid planting vegetation or constructing obstructions that would block the view of hydrants or prevent firefighters from being able to use the hydrant in an emergency.

Fire hydrant hidden by bushHydrant 2