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Fire Hydrants

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Keep Fire Hydrants Clear of Snow & Weeds

The City of Birmingham currently has 870 fire hydrants in the city.  These hydrants are valuable assets to the Fire Department for fire extinguishment.  As a structure fire doubles in size approximately every 30 seconds, accessing fire hydrants quickly is paramount to life safety and property conservation.  During the winter, hydrants are at times found to be completely covered in snow from snow plows, snow shovels, etc.  This situation can create a delay in accessing a water supply to extinguish a fire. 

Birmingham’s City Ordinance, Chapter 98, Section 66, Subsection (a) states that “snow shall be removed from a minimum three foot area surrounding all fire hydrants to within six inches from the ground”.  Also, City Ordinance Chapter 98, Section 68 (a) states “If any owner shall neglect to clear or maintain the sidewalk adjoining his lot and around all fire hydrants, he shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter”.
Please help the Birmingham Fire Department by keeping hydrants clear of snow, weeds, etc.   Questions concerning hydrant access situations can be addressed by contacting the fire department at:  (248) 530-1906.

Fire Hydrant Flow Testing

The Birmingham Fire Department and the Department of Public Services conduct the annual flow testing of the City's hydrants during one-two evenings in April.  Twenty hydrants are tested throughout the City (rather than specific sections per year) and the work is completed during the night to avoid disruptions for residents. Flow testing a reduced number of hydrants reduces instances of discolored water.
Flow testing is a critical infrastructure project that ensures the safety of residents by providing the flow pressure and volume of water that is expected from each hydrant. Additionally, it reveals hydrants with mechanical problems. Flow testing is one of the ways the City ensures hydrants are operable and give the proper water flow when needed.

Please note flow testing may cause water in the immediate area to appear rust colored. If you experience rust colored water, here's helpful information:

  • This condition does not pose a health problem.
  • Normal running of cold water in your home will soon clear up the problem. Do not use hot water. This will prevent rusty water from entering the hot water tank.
  • If the rusty water affects your laundry, you may purchase "oxalic acid", or commercial products for taking rust out of clothes, from local grocery, drug or hardware stores. Call the Fire Department at 248-530-1900 regarding availability of Oxalic Acid for your use. Follow the product instructions for rewashing the clothes and the rust will be removed.

The Birmingham Fire Department and the Department of Public Services appreciate your patience as they work to ensure the safety of Birmingham's residents. For more information or questions about flow testing, download Fire Hydrant Flow Testing Frequently Asked Questions or call 248-530-1906