Fire Hydrant Flow Testing Program

ENWIN Water Operations performs water hydrant flow testing as part of annual system maintenance. Under the current preventative maintenance program the City of Windsor is divided into 5 major flow test areas. One of these areas (approximately 20% of the city) is flow tested annually. The annual hydrant flow testing program is now complete for 2023.   

Customers located in the targeted flushing areas may notice some mild discolouration and sedimentation while the flow testing is taking place. ENWIN assures customers that this is  not  harmful and should clear up quickly when testing is complete. 

ENWIN recommends that customers follow the guidelines listed below, when system flow testing is underway nearby: 

  • Avoid doing laundry while ENWIN crews are working in your neighbourhood. 

  • Wait until water is clear before drinking. 

  • Use only cold water until system flow testing is complete. 

  • When testing is complete in your area, run cold water through your interior faucets until clear. 

Any homeowner who continues to see discolouration in their water 12 hours after flow testing is completed should call ENWIN via the "Contact Us" page.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What is the purpose of fire hydrant flow testing? 

Flow testing is conducted for many beneficial reasons. First and foremost, flow testing is performed to confirm the flow capacity at each hydrant, which enables ENWIN to colour code individual hydrants for firefighting and insurance purposes.  Colour coded reflective disks are attached to each hydrant indicating that specific hydrants maximum flow capacity. ENWIN previously painted hydrant bonnet caps, but now use reflective disks as these disks are more visible during the nighttime. See below for the colour code chart indicating fire hydrant flow rates. Regular flushing also supports a fresh and clear distribution system as it helps removes tuberculation and freshens up water in mains with minimal flow. Lastly, flow testing also helps ensure all hydrants and valves are working properly.    

How can I find out where testing will take place?

There are many ways we communicate details regarding our flow testing program. Our bill (include e-billing) includes an insert indicating the boundaries within which testing will take place every summer. Additionally, an annual announcement is published in the Windsor Star newspaper outlining the test area for the current year. For more specific communication that occurs while flow testing is in progress, please refer to @enwinutilities social media channels. Additionally, personal visits are conducted, and door-hangers placed in areas where flow testing is currently being performed. 

What should I do if I have already used the water after testing started? 

If you notice a discolouration or disturbed sediment, you should immediately stop using the water for cleaning or washing.  Turn on the cold-water faucet and allow any disturbed water to flow through the internal plumbing system.  If water is drawn into a washing machine, the load should be re-run after flushing the cold-water system.  This load should be washed in the cold-water cycle.  If the customer finds laundry has been stained, call ENWIN for an additive that will remove these stains. 

How long does hydrant testing last?  How will I know when it is complete?

Flow testing of hydrants on a particular street usually lasts no longer than 30 minutes from start to finish and may end sooner.  The actual flow of the hydrant only lasts two to four minutes.  If you see the crews have left the site, that means the work is complete.  However, tests being conducted on adjacent streets may still cause disturbed water.  This is why we suggest that the customers allow an entire day for this process. 

If I see disturbed water, how long should I wait before testing the water to see if it is clear? 

Most disturbed water events will clear within 5-15 minutes.  Just run the cold water tap until clear.