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Fire call sparks need for water overview

"The discussion to upgrade systems has been ongoing," said Cogan. 'We are going to take a look at marking our hydrants differently."

The city's hydrants are color-coded by the diameter of the water mains that service them, said Cogan: red for 4-inch mains, blue for 6-inch and so on.

But the color-coded system does not tip fire fighters off to just how much water volume and pressure they maintain. For a number of reasons, such as new construction or a valve, or valves, not securely fastened, the water pressure varies, he said.

Firefighters are looking to test the flow of all the city's hydrants to determine their output and identify the hydrant by their flow capacity, not by the size of the main.

There is much work to be done with the city's water distribution system, said McTygue, but currently the city is wrapped up in millions of storm water upgrades to deal with flooding in areas of the city. Updates to the supply lines are done periodically and are budgeted each year, he said, but the updates are a never-ending construction process competing with several others.

"The only reasonable way for the city to afford this is to do little by little," McTygue said. "Does the work need to be done? Yes, it does. But it's not just water we need to keep an eye on."

McTygue added that as storm water management projects slated for last year and this year wrap up, the department will again shift its focus to updating water service lines.

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