Winter is here and the hydrants are ready!

They aren’t the post office, but our fire hydrant crews deliver great service in the rain, sleet and snow. As we head into winter, our crews work diligently to ensure our fire hydrants are also ready for service in any kind of weather.

Louisville Water has seven one- or two-man crews focused on servicing and maintaining our 24,000 hydrants and one two-person crew tasked with replacing hydrants.

During the winter, to ensure all hydrants are functioning properly, the three one-man crews focus solely on approximately 1,850 hydrants that we know hold water. These hydrants need to be “winterized” throughout the season to ensure that water doesn’t freeze inside them and prevent proper use of the hydrant during an emergency situation. The process of winterizing includes pumping out any standing water and adding a gallon of food-grade antifreeze. This ensures water flow.

The process of winterizing hydrants doesn’t just happen once. It occurs throughout the season—typically from November to early March, depending on the weather. Louisville Water’s goal is to visit a hydrant three times each season. Just like with the initial winterizing, the two follow up visits involve removing the existing antifreeze and standing water and replacing it with a new gallon of antifreeze. All hydrants are designed to keep the antifreeze contained within the hydrant.

The same crews are also tasked with checking hydrants used throughout the winter season by MSD and the fire departments. The crews ensure no water is left standing in the hydrant and each one is ready for use again.