November 19, 2013
Maximizing efficiency and performance are top-of-mind objectives for any water district and municipality, ever in search of the right combination of saving time and money. One Maine community feels confident it has found an answer to that pursuit, taking an unusual move to convert its network of fire hydrants into one system. The undertaking is uncommon because the Bath Water District, which includes the cities of Bath, West Bath, Brunswick and Woolwich, is one of many water districts in the state divided into many municipal departments with a different board of directors and varying voting systems and budgets for each community.
During his eight years as the Bath Water District superintendent, Trevor Hunt has researched the effectiveness of his district’s fire hydrant system. Hunt dug into more than 80 years of documented purchasing decisions, repairs and changes and has added to the accounts, making note of the time and expense involved in each hydrant repair. He saw many opportunities to save money literally going down the drain every year with complicated parts inventories and manpower expense for repairs. When he studied which of the public and private hydrants in his district were operating at highest performance, it was clear that the Eddy Fire Hydrant from Clow Valve Company came out on top.
After making the discovery, Hunt approached Brett Johnson, a Clow Valve Co. salesman for more than 10 years, with one goal: to convert 100 percent of the Bath district to Eddy hydrants. During the last six years, Johnson and Hunt have slowly changed out each hydrant, with Hunt insisting that private entities in his district do the same. Earlier this fall, they accomplished their goal and are celebrating the changeover of each 356 public and 61 private hydrants to Eddy.
“Standardizing our hydrant system makes our lives and jobs easier. The Eddy system offers the simplest inventory of parts and requires just one repairman at a time, saving significant time and resources,” says Hunt. “I know exactly what I’m getting with the Eddy system. From an operational perspective, it just makes sense.”
Since 1875, the Eddy system has remained virtually unchanged, with just eight internal parts that require no special tools. Hunt and his team like the hydrant for its ease of use, breakaway flange and its ability to open and close quickly yet controllably under pressure, minimizing water hammer. Johnson says that in terms of safety, the Eddy’s 13-turns-to-open system ― compared to the 20-plus turns of most other hydrants ― is an important feature for firefighters relying on the most efficient use of time and manpower during emergencies.
Also important to the Bath community is the hydrant’s traditional look, which fits the landscape of the historic sea-fearing town that hosts many tourists each year and is home to both artists and photographers.
“People come to Bath expecting a certain look and feel,” says Hunt. “I can’t have our hydrants sticking out like a sore thumb, distracting from that experience. Eddy hydrants fit our community’s needs and personality perfectly.”
McWane, Inc. is a family-owned business based in Birmingham, Alabama, with companies across the United States and the world. At the McWane Family of Companies, we cast ductile iron products--including pipe, valves, hydrants, fittings, and plumbing products--manufacture fire extinguishers, fire suppression systems, steel pressure vessels, and build network switches and monitoring equipment. We are the leader in delivering clean, safe drinking water around the world while focusing on the safe, environmentally-friendly manufacturing of our products. With more than 6,000 team members McWane has a longstanding commitment of support to the communities where we live and work.