Visual Locating Fire Water Hydrants with Symbols and Marker Meanings.

This information has been created for and applies to Utility Locators and New South Wales Fire Services (NSWFS), Australia. Disclaimer: All efforts have been made to give accurate information, of hydrant symbols, markers and valves, and in no way constitutes professional advice, please seek professional accredited services when dealing with any utility assets, to avoid damage, injury or death.


How to locate fire hydrants?

In New South Wales, Hydrants are located about 1 meter underground and can be found on either side of the roads or pathways, these hydrants have a cover known as a surface fitting.

In residential areas, hydrants are placed 50-100 meters apart. The placement depends on the other underground obstructions of utilities and location to buildings.


What does a hydrant look like?

The covers or technical name “surface fittings”, is directly above the hydrant itself, and what you will be locating above ground on surface level grade. There are many different types, sizes and designs. Most are standardized and will be yellow in color and will have a indicator letter of H on them. The covers are usually made of a hard metal to protect the hydrant underneath and can also have hard plastic encloses or imbedded into concrete to minimize movement, ensure access and visibility.

Residential Hydrant Examples:

Road Hydrant Example
Newer Pathway hydrant
Older imbedded metal and concrete hydrant
The Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board (MWS&DB)

Water and Fire Hydrant Markers.

Primary markers and indicators are used first to gain location. The main types of indicator markers are as follows, Marker plates, blue cats eyes road markers and spray paint markings.

The following link is to a NSWFS pdf explaining more about these markers.

https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/23532/Bush-Fire-Bulletin-LIFTOUT-HydrantMarkers.pdf


Fire Hydrant System Maps.

Maps can be a good indicator of general positions and number of local area, obtained by Dbyd, or using large property or building fire system maps. Most fire systems for fire hydrants, fire sprinklers, fire hose reel systems are connected to the water main, larger and industrial properties have a auxiliary or separate fire main to ensure water supplies in case of emergencies.


Hidden Hydrants.

most of the time due to overgrown grasses and weeds, these hydrants are usually hard to find and open without the right knowledge and tools. Some can be covered by weathering of grade or surrounding soils, another problem is lack of access due to property boundaries and hidden due to obstructions, such as vehicles.


Utility Locator Tips:

  1. Use a metal detector with prior knowledge of location, as stated above with general experience, markers or maps.
  2. To open these for direct connection or trace wire access utility locating, chisel and lump hammer is usually needed.

Here are some example problems of locating hydrants:

Stop Valve
Grass covered stop valve
Hydrant valve
Hard to open hydrant valve
damaged stop valve marker
Damaged stop valve marker
Water Hydrant Valve
Water Hydrant Valve
Water hydrant markers

Sources:

https://www.fire.nsw.gov.au/page.php?id=9259

https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/23532/Bush-Fire-Bulletin-LIFTOUT-HydrantMarkers.pdf

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