By Bruce Karnick [email protected] Driving up and down Vermillion Street on Monday, you may have noticed that the hydrants were wrapped in plastic bags. This is a new program that Hastings …
By Bruce Karnick
Driving up and down Vermillion Street on Monday, you may have noticed that the hydrants were wrapped in plastic bags. This is a new program that Hastings public works is implementing to help extend the life of the hydrants as well as make it easier for fire fighters to open the caps on them if needed.
Highway 61, or Vermillion Street is a state highway so that means the MN Department of Transportation is in charge of snow and ice removal. The DoT uses a lot more deicing materials on Vermillion Street than the City of Hastings does on the other residential streets, and for good reason. Nearly 35,000 cars travel that road each day.
The issue with excess salt or deicing chemicals is, those chemicals end up on the hydrants from the road spray which then works its way into the threads of the caps and causes corrosion. That corrosion makes the caps very difficult to remove and that is a problem when every second counts to put out a fire. Other cities have used this method and had great success with it, so Hastings is jumping on board.
No worries, the bags are easily torn open when needed by the fire department. Hopefully, they are not so easily torn that a good windstorm or ice chunk does not rip them apart. More importantly, hopefully the fire department doesn’t need to tear into one at all.
Spending $30 on recyclable plastic to extend the life of the hydrants and make a firefighters job easier seems like a win-win scenario for the city and the community, and who knows, it might just save a life in the process.