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Watching Fire Fighters' Water Flow

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Thursday, September 24, 2009; 5:49 PM

In 2007, when D.C. fire officials discovered that about 25 percent of the city's fire hydrants were in disrepair, they began systematically gathering information about them. As a result of their investigation, the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) fixed and upgraded thousands of hydrants.

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The fire department also identified 40 areas of the city about which they wanted more information about water flow. Some were found to be potentially problematic to fire fighters because of hydrant or water main problems.

Fire officials say they have developed operational plans sufficient for fighting fires in 31 of those areas, and the rest are under review. But after working with WASA, they concluded that 12 still require water main, hydrant or other work to meet their safety standards for fire fighting.

Those 12 areas, and the status of the work undertaken in each, are listed below. Six others, also listed below, are still under investigation by WASA.

Meantime, fire officials admit that they and WASA have not identified all areas of the city where fire fighters might face water flow or other difficulties. The fire department and WASA continue to investigate.

-- Allison Klein

Work Requested, Completed

Mayfair Parkside, NE: The area didn't meet WASA water flow standards. WASA installed a new main.

Taylor Street NE: The fire department determined that the area needed a new hydrant, which WASA installed.

WMATA's Bladensburg Metrobus facility: A water valve was replaced.

Work Requested, in Progress

1300 block of Upshur Street: The fire department requested an additional hydrant on the street, which has houses, an elementary school and two homes for the elderly. WASA plans to install them in October 2009.


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