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What is a Hydrant Company?

hydrant company

A hydrant company is a business that specializes in the sale of fire and/or flushing hydrants. These businesses are typically experienced in engineering and hydraulics, making them well-equipped to handle any needs or issues related to distribution systems. Customers can rely on these businesses for advice on hydrant placement and repairs and maintenance services.

Kupferle has proudly manufactured American-made goods out of St. Louis, Missouri, for 165 years. Our innovative ideas and products that make your life easier have contributed to our foundry company’s growth and success.

Kupferle foundry company produces several complete product lines designed to improve and maintain potable water quality throughout water distribution systems.

We offer a progressive approach and a commitment to high-quality products and services to waterworks professionals to help bring their distribution system into the 21st Century.

As an ongoing effort, Kupferle Technology Vans tour the US, allowing consumers a walkthrough exhibit of the latest flushing and sampling innovations our hydrant company offers.

Our goal is to continually improve your water quality while saving time, water, and money. To do this, we offer a wide array of products to help you maintain your clean water supply and help the environment.  Ensuring your water system has the right equipment is crucial to improving and maintaining drinking water quality.

Our hydrant company is here to help you understand the importance of a sound distribution system and what intelligent monitoring and flushing capabilities mean for you.

What is a Distribution System, and Why is it so Important?

A water distribution system is a complex network of piping that delivers clean water to homes and businesses.

A sound distribution system is important for two reasons: first, it ensures that water is delivered at the correct pressure and volume; second, it helps prevent contamination of the water supply.

Intelligent monitoring and flushing  and sampling capabilities are important for two reasons: first, they help ensure that the distribution system is operating properly; second, they help to identify contamination of the water supply.

Intelligent monitoring can detect low residuals, high turbidity and other problems in the distribution system, and flushing can remove sediment and raise residual levels in the pipes.  This is where Kupferle hydrant company comes in.

What Products Does Kupferle Hydrant Company Offer?

Kupferle hydrant and foundry company offer a wide range of intelligently designed products to make your life easier.

We design our hydrant products with your needs in mind and make our foundry products with the highest quality standards. We take pride in our products and dedicate ourselves to ensuring you have the best possible experience with them.

At our company, we understand that quality is critical to our products. For that reason, we use only the best materials and manufacturing processes to create our hydrants and foundry products. We want you to be able to rely on these products for years to come, and we know that only the highest quality standards will ensure that.

Because we offer a wide range of products to choose from, you can find the perfect one for your needs. Whether you need a new hydrant or are looking for a high-quality foundry product, we have what you need.

Our product line includes:

– Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing

– Automatic Flushing

– Sampling Stations

– Post Hydrants and Blow Offs

– Plant and Wash Down

– Yard Hydrants

– Electric Evacuation Pumps

– Ratcheting Valve Wrenches

– Nozzle Sampling Valves

Replacement parts

Let us guide you through our hydrant company product offerings and how they can benefit you and your unique situation!

Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing

The Eclipse i-Series, Kupferle foundry company’s intelligent monitoring and flushing products, allow utilities to monitor multiple water quality attributes, such as chlorine residual, turbidity, temperature, pressure, pH, and more. Our foundry company offers both portable and permanent stations throughout the distribution system.

Our intelligent monitoring and flushing products flush with the precise amount of water needed to maintain the desired chlorine residual levels while capturing and transmitting valuable water quality data. This complete data collection means a better understanding of your water quality and considerable savings in the amount of water flushed.

Each style of the Eclipse i-Series provides different benefits that are essential for different waterwork professionals. For example, solar-powered models are perfect for those who need to move their unit often, as they do not require an external power source.

Additionally, insulated, and heated enclosures are perfect for professionals working in cold climates, as they keep the standing pipe warm and prevent it from freezing. Finally, warm climate-specific models are designed to work in hot weather conditions.

Automatic Flushing

Kupferle hydrant company has been the leader in automatic flushing technology for over a decade. Our foundry company provides easy solutions to improve and maintain water quality in distribution systems – especially on dead-end mains.

Our hydrant company offers durable and easy to use automatic flushing stations to help distribution superintendents and water quality managers maintain safe chlorine residuals and remove aging water before harmful disinfection byproducts (DBPs) can form.

Utilizing the standard hand-held controller, or an optional blue-tooth controller, users simply program a day/time/duration flushing schedule, then the station flushes the line at scheduled times; up to 200 GPM for 2” models and 65 GPM for 1” models.

The benefits of using our automatic flushing stations are:

– Keeping residuals at a safe steady level in order to combat any microbials that may be present

– Remove old water on a regular basis before DBPs can form

– Flush up to 50% less water compared to fire hydrant flushing

Sampling Stations

The EPA’s revised Total Coliform Rule (2014) includes language allowing for the use of sampling stations as a best practice for taking bacteriological samples.

This allows utilities more control to prevent contamination of sampling by preventing unauthorized people from utilizing the tap, and only using the tap for sampling purposes.

By doing so, sampling representation of the distribution system is improved. Distribution system representation is further improved by allowing for dedicated sampling taps in areas that have not been able to previously gain access.

Kupferle hydrant company’s sampling stations give water utilities unrestricted access to sample sites. This provides a dedicated tap for sample retrieval with no outside cross-contamination, allowing for samples to be directly taken from the main.

The ability to have dedicated sampling taps provides water utilities with a much greater ability to sample water accurately.  This is particularly important in areas that have not been able to previously gain access to accurate sampling due to infrastructure limitations.

By being able to tap directly into the main, utilities can get a much more accurate picture of the water quality in their service area.

This improved accuracy allows for better decision making when it comes to maintaining water quality and ensuring customer satisfaction.

Post Hydrants and Blow-Offs

Our hydrant company offers a complete line of durable and easily maintained post flushing hydrants, as well as below-grade blow-offs.

We offer 2” and 4” (non-fire-rated) hydrants, which are excellent solutions for flushing dead end water mains.

Kupferle hydrant company’s non-freezing hydrants and blow-offs are self-draining and are easily maintainable from above ground. The flow rates for these products range from 280 GPM to 1340 GPM, depending on the model you choose.

Kupferle hydrants and blow-offs are the perfect alternative to add to your specs where fire protection is not required. Kupferle foundry company products are designed specifically for dead-end water mains and eliminate the need for gate valve, corp stop or ball valve flushing assemblies.

They are simple to install and require no special tools or training.

Plant and Wash Down

Kupferle hydrant company manufactures a complete line of 2” and 4” post washdown hydrants and monitor washdown hydrants for water and wastewater treatment plant applications.

– Our washdown hydrants offer:

– Superior flow rates

– Ability to washdown retention basins, clarifiers, etc. easily

Our foundry company’s washdown monitor hydrants also allow for a faster washdown without hauling hoses or entering basins, in turn, reducing the risk of injury to employees.

Washdown hydrants are a great way to keep your property clean and safe. They can be used for specific applications such as retention basins and clarifiers but also for general washing down and clean up. There are a variety of washdown hydrants available, so it is important to select the one that is best suited for your needs.

Some of the factors you will want to consider when choosing a washdown hydrant include the water pressure and flow rate. You will also want to make sure that the hydrant is compatible with your water system.

Washdown hydrants are available in both direct tap and hose connection models, so be sure to choose the one that is most appropriate for your needs.

All washdown hydrants are fully serviceable from above ground, which makes them easy to maintain and repair. This also allows for more flexibility when it comes to placement, and a lower cost to you.

Plus, having a washdown hydrant on site can provide a safer working environment for employees.

Yard Hydrants

Our foundry company offers a variety of 1″ and ¾” yard hydrants, ideal for campgrounds, parks, golf courses, and many other use cases.

The Eclipse, Corn King, and Truflo models offer users different appearance and valve design options, each with unique advantages.

Kupferle’s yard hydrants are an excellent option for those looking for a high-quality product that is reliable and easy to use.

All of Kupferle’s yard hydrants are self-draining and non-freezing, making them an excellent choice for use in cold climates.

Additionally, they can all be fully serviced from above ground, so there is no need to dig!  This easy above-ground access makes them an excellent option for campgrounds, parks, golf courses, and other applications where ease of use is paramount.

Other Products and Replacement Parts offered by Kupferle Foundry Company

In addition to all the previously mentioned products built to make waterworks professional’s lives easier, Kupferle foundry company offers all the replacement parts you could want from a hydrant company.

This means that no matter what breaks or malfunctions on your hydrant, we have the replacement part you need to get your waterworks up and running again in no time.

This includes everything from replacement gaskets and o-rings to entire hydrant bodies. We understand that when something goes wrong with your waterworks, you need it fixed quickly and efficiently, which is why we carry a large inventory of replacement parts for hydrants. Contact us today to learn more about our replacement part offerings!

Electric Evacuation Pumps

– Battery-powered pumps for cold climate sample stations

– Compatible with Eclipse #88 and MainGuard #66 cold climate sampling station model.

– Used to evacuate standing water in freezing seasons from sampling stations that have no drain hole in order to avoid any cross-contamination from ground water.

Nozzle Sampling Valve

– Easily collect water samples from hydrants (non-bacteriological)

– 5” NST Swivel Connection

– 7/16” unthreading sampling point

Ratcheting Valve Wrench

We offer a wide range of parts and accessories to go along with Kupferle hydrant company’s intelligently created, top-rated post hydrant and blow-off flushing sampling equipment.  Some examples include:

– Ratcheting valve key with swivel socket.

– Detachable handle for ease of portability

– Both solid shafts and telescoping shafts available.

Kupferle Hydrant Company – On the Cutting Edge of Waterworks’ Technology

Kupferle hydrant company has been a leader in technologically advanced waterworks products for almost 200 years. We pride ourselves on our commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction. Our foundry company provides equipment and testing products to help you keep your waterworks equipment running smoothly, saving you money.

Our products are designed with your needs in mind.  We are continually updating our offerings to stay ahead of the curve, and on the cutting edge of technology. Our team of experts is always available to answer any questions you may have about our products or installation.

We know that keeping your waterworks infrastructure running smoothly is critical for your business or municipality, and we are dedicated to providing you with the best possible products and service.

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Your Complete Guide to Water Quality Monitoring

Having the correct tools for the task at hand is an integral part in getting the job done, no matter what it is. Water quality monitoring is no different. Utilities need the right equipment to know what’s going on in their water system. Here, we’re going to go through some of the options utilities have when it comes to evaluating water quality monitoring indicators. The very best options are the ones that will fill all of your specific needs, so we’ve got a few different characteristics to go through so that you can find the exact right fit for your water system.

Before we can get into all that, though, we should make sure we’re all on the same page when it comes to water quality monitoring — what it means, what we’re looking for, and why each water quality indicator is important.

9 Common Water Quality Indicators

Before we jump into this section, it’s important to keep in mind that the nine water quality indicators on our list are only scratching the surface of what water quality monitoring can entail. Depending on your water system’s specific needs and a variety of other factors, you might need to monitor something that’s not on this list. We’ve narrowed our focus to some of the most common water quality indicators so that we can go more in-depth on each one, explaining the utility of each in some detail.

The main questions we aim to answer for each water quality indicator are as follows:

  1. What is it?
  2. Why is it important to measure it?
  3. How do you measure it?

With that information in hand, utilities can create more targeted water quality monitoring strategies and employ the right equipment to accomplish those goals. 

Chlorine (free, combined, or total)

Adding chlorine is one of the most common forms of water treatment,  When you add chlorine to a water supply, it eliminates harmful microbes and neutralizes contaminants that can cause health issues for consumers. Free chlorine (e.g. sodium hypochlorite) is the most widely used type of chlorine in the United States. Combined chlorine is created when adding ammonia to the free chlorine mixture stabilizing the chlorine residual for a longer time period. Total chlorine is a measure of both free can combined chlorine.

It’s important to select the appropriate chlorine sensor for the type of chlorine your system employs.  

Turbidity

How clear or cloudy water is relates to its turbidity. The clearer the water, the less turbid it is. Turbidity measures the amount of light that material in the water scatters. Materials that can increase water’s turbidity include clay, silt, algae, and microscopic organisms, among others. 

Turbidity is one of the water quality indicators that can still be useful even though it doesn’t point directly toward any specific microbiological or chemical contaminants. It essentially measures how efficient the filtering is. If the turbidity of finished, treated water is above a certain threshold, that can be a warning sign of filter deficiencies or too much debris in the water mains. It can also point toward other potential treatment problems that might introduce pathogens to the distribution system (e.g. biofilm).

This water quality indicator is measured by online turbidimeters, portable turbidimeters, or benchtop turbidimeters. The turbidity of the water can be determined quickly on site, making it one of the more convenient water quality monitoring methods.

pH

Most people are at least passingly familiar with pH values. You probably studied it in science class at one point or another. So, as you likely already know, pH measures how acidic or basic a substance is, and it’s one of the most commonly used water quality indicators. It stands for potential of hydrogen. The scale goes from 0 to 14 — the lower the pH value, the more acidic the water is. A pH value of 7 is neutral. 

The pH value is important to water quality monitoring because changes to it can indicate system contamination. If the regular pH value of a water system has been established and then experiences a decrease in observed pH level, that might be an indicator of undesired bacteria growing within the system. 

What’s more, a water supply with a high pH level can taste bad, while a water supply with a low pH level can even degrade the pipes through which it runs. These are just a few of the reasons water quality monitoring often includes pH level as a main indicator. Utilities can monitor pH on-site, and they can get near-immediate results.

Conductivity

Perhaps this is one indicator that needs no explanation, but we’ll give a brief one anyway: The ability to carry an electrical current. Pure water actually has a very low level of conductivity, but sea water and other forms of water in which different materials are dissolved can have high conductivity. 

Thus, this is one of the water quality indicators that has the potential to raise a red flag about how much dissolved material is in the water. This material might include chemicals (like chlorine), minerals, and even sewage leaks. A sudden change in conductivity can be a sign of a contamination event or a pathway breach within the water distribution system, which are both big problems that need to be addressed. Corrosion within the system can also cause the conductivity measurement to change.

Water conductivity also has a lot to do with the temperature of the water, which is one of the other water quality indicators we’ll discuss in a later section. 

Water conductivity can be measured in the field or in the lab relatively quickly and cheaply. Professionals can use continuous online meters or portable instruments.

Pressure

Water pressure is another indicator that needs little introduction, if any at all. We’re all familiar with showers that feel more like a trickle than a true stream of water, but changes in pressure can be signs of something much more than an unsatisfying shower. A reduction in pressure can be a possible indicator of a leak or even a water main break, among other bad signs. Plus, sharp changes in pressure can weaken the pipes over time, increasing the risk for cracks and leaks. 

Comprehensive pressure monitoring throughout the entire system is important for those reasons. Utility managers need that depth of data in order to keep their systems in the best shape possible.

ORP

To know how much oxidizing potential water has, one has to measure its ORP. It’s difficult to get into this one without giving a full chemistry lesson, so we’ll keep it surface level. ORP stands for oxidation-reduction potential, and it gives utilities a better idea of how effective their sanitizing efforts are. The higher the ORP, the better. ORP can also be used to determine whether bio-film may be forming inside of water pipes (especially if using a combined/chloramines disinfectant) as ORP figures will normally drop.

Fluoride

This water quality indicator is multifaceted. Some water is artificially fluoridated in order to promote dental health. However, fluoride can also occur naturally in water, and consuming too much of it over long periods of time can cause health problems.

Fluoride in drinking water is typically measured either colorimetrically or potentiometrically.

Temperature

Unlike some of the other water quality indicators on our list, everyone is already well familiar with temperature. It is an important feature for water quality monitoring because when water temperature climbs above 59 degrees Fahrenheit, it has a greater probability of developing harmful microorganisms and biofilms. Temperature also affects other water quality indicators, like dissolved oxygen content, which we cover in the next section.

Although a change in temperature doesn’t point to any one specific type of contaminant, it can still act as a valuable warning sign that something might be wrong within the system.

Measuring temperature is, as you might imagine, fairly simple. It can often be accounted for in an additional sensor added into a water quality monitoring device.

Dissolved O2

All kinds of water supplies need to be monitored for their dissolved oxygen component. In streams and lakes, the amount of dissolved oxygen is one of the factors that dictates how much aquatic life the water can support. But when we’re talking about water distribution systems, we’re mostly looking at dissolved oxygen in a different light. 

One aspect that makes it important to measure is that it affects the taste of drinking water. Generally, water with a higher dissolved oxygen content tastes better than water with a lower dissolved oxygen content. However, utilities also don’t want to raise the amount of oxygen dissolved in the water as much as they possibly can. This is because too much dissolved oxygen can corrode pipes and damage the water system.

There are a few different ways to measure dissolved oxygen in a water supply. You can use electrochemical analysis, photochemical analysis, or chemical analysis. Whichever way you choose to do it, measuring the dissolved oxygen and making sure it stays within a safe range is vital.

Some Water Quality Monitoring Options

In the previous sections, we gave a few examples of the kinds of water quality monitoring devices professionals use to measure each indicator. Here, we’ll discuss those devices in more depth. They can measure different water quality indicators, but the differences run deeper than that. Let’s get into it.

Portable vs Permanent

Some monitors are fixed parts of a water distribution system, while others can be moved around. Take the Eclipse i-Series #9250i, for example, that we make here at Kupferle. It’s made to monitor pressure, and it attaches to any hydrant via a 2-1/2” NST connection. So, you can take it around to different points in a water distribution system and get pressure readings that way. If you want to monitor more than pressure Kupferle also manufactures the Eclipse i-Series #9700i-Solar that can hold up to eight different sensors like the ones listed about to monitor and flush water to keep residuals at safe levels.

However, if portability isn’t the main goal Kupferle manufactures a full line of permanent stations like the  Eclipse i-Series #9800i-Genesis, for example. This permanent intelligent monitoring and flushing station stays in place, but it can also house up to eight different sensors. It will also automatically flush the system when residuals are below the set minimum level and powers itself directly from the water main using an incorporated water turbine and battery bank.

Different Power Sources

Water quality assessment requires power from somewhere. For an eco-friendly option, you might consider solar powered monitors like Kupferle’s Eclipse i-Series #9800i-WC-24LIS-A. As mentioned above, other monitors are constructed with a built-in water turbine to charge their batteries. And of course, there are options with regular lithium-ion batteries that charge by plugging into an outlet (portable) or running 120VAC line power to the station. Pay attention to the power source in the equipment you use to perform water quality tests to make sure they align with your needs and values.

Intelligent Monitoring

Intelligent monitoring devices make it remarkably simple to access the water quality data. In most all instances, they can transmit the water quality data to your mobile device or SCADA. They can also generate water quality reports in the form of preformatted Excel worksheets and graphic displays. That makes it easy to track different water quality indicators.

Flushing

Like we explained when we talked about the Eclipse #9800i-Genesis, some monitors also flush the system when they detect the levels are below programmed minimums. Instead of scheduling set times to flush aging water out of the distribution system, it’s done automatically and efficiently based on the chlorine residual and/or NTU. Not all monitors have that functionality, though, so it’s definitely something to watch out for if you’re interested in it.

Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing can save water, time, and money because of its precise nature. The water is only flushed when needed, and the exact amount of water to get those residuals back to the correct level is flushed. This can be a huge advantage.

Choose the right water quality monitoring equipment.

Here at Kupferle, we make several different types of water quality monitoring and flushing devices that meet the specifications we outlined in the previous section. Consider our different models of intelligent monitoring and flushing equipment. Many of them can incorporate up to eight different sensors that monitor for the water quality indicators we’ve listed here. That’s one piece of equipment that can handle many different water quality monitoring tasks.

Different water systems have different needs when it comes to water quality monitoring. As such, customizing your equipment to identify specific water quality indicators of concern is always a good call. Consider all of the indicators we’ve listed here as well as your options for equipment, and then choose the right water quality monitoring devices for your system.

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Everything You Need to Know about Yard Hydrants

Red yard hydrant in a field of grassBefore right now, you might have never even heard of yard hydrants. They’re not super high on the radar for most people. However, for a specific set of circumstances, they’re a perfect solution.

Here, we’re going to take you through everything you could possibly need to know about yard water hydrants before adding one to your property. We’ll start with basic definitions and situations where yard hydrants are most useful. Then, we’ll move into more detailed topics: What parts a yard water hydrant contains, how to go about selecting one, and whether you want to install them yourself or have a professional do it, among others. The goal is to help you make an informed decision.

If you’re considering adding a yard hydrant to a property you own or manage, then we’ve rounded up all the initial concerns you might have and addressed them here. Let’s jump in.

What is a yard hydrant?

We won’t get very far if we don’t answer this most basic question. What exactly is a yard water hydrant, anyway?

When you hear the word “hydrant,” your first association is probably a fire hydrant, the kind of bright yellow things on street corners. The hydrants we’re talking about here are pretty different from those kinds of hydrants. A yard water hydrant might also be called a water pump, a frost- or freeze less hydrant, or an outdoor hydrant. Basically, it’s a piece of plumbing equipment that gets water to an external place, and it drains itself to ground after you turn it off to prevent freezing in the winter. In the simplest terms, it’s an outdoor faucet.

When you need to get water to a semi-remote location on your property, yard hydrants are a great choice. They come in several different varieties for different purposes, as we’ll explain in more detail later. 

Now, let’s move into the places where you’re most likely to encounter a yard hydrant.

Where are yard hydrants most useful?

You probably don’t see yard hydrants too often if you only frequent urban areas. Yard hydrants can typically be found on farms, campgrounds, horse ranches, parks, and other rural properties, but we’ll go into specifics here shortly. 

Any more remote location where you need to get water without laboriously lugging it from site to site is a good candidate for yard hydrants. If you need water somewhere a hose won’t reach or there’s no spigot nearby, then you need a yard water hydrant. We dive a little deeper into each of these in the following sections.

Farms

Farmers have all kinds of water needs. If you need to get water to animals that don’t have a convenient spigot nearby, a yard hydrant is an obvious solution. You can place yard hydrants around the farm at convenient locations for livestock, crops, holding pens, and any other place where water is important to have handy.

Campgrounds

Fresh water is a definite must-have at any campsite, for obvious reasons. Since yard hydrants are usually frost-proof, they make for a great choice because they’re ready to go at a moment’s notice. They’re versatile, and there are few limits on where they can be placed. Large campgrounds can definitely benefit from having strategically placed yard hydrants around, making it convenient for everyone to get water.

Golf Courses

Since the grass is pretty much the main draw at any golf course, maintaining it properly is super important. That means lots of watering. A yard water hydrant at the right spots around a golf course can make that huge job a bit easier. Precision is important here, and that’s one reason why yard water hydrants often make a good choice — you have a lot of freedom in where you place them.

Parks

These are much the same as campgrounds in many ways. You’ve got a public place where people need access to water. Parks can benefit from yard hydrants both for irrigation purposes and for drinking water (using sanitary yard hydrants), depending on their location. In some cases, they can also be helpful in fire suppression (but they are typically not fire rated like a fire hydrant).

Residential

Most residential lots have adequate water access without adding any extra hydrants, but that’s not the case for everyone. Some homeowners with large plots benefit from adding yard hydrants near gardens that need regular watering. Others add one near the driveway so they can have an easier time washing their car. 

Placing a hydrant in your yard means you won’t need super long, hard-to-maneuver hoses, and you’ll have an overall easier time with your chores. 

What are the different components of a yard hydrant?

Generally, there are three main aspects of a yard water hydrant: The standpipe, the head, and the valve.

The standpipe is a vertical pipe that comes out of the ground. The height will vary a bit from model to model, but they typically stand a few feet tall. On top of that is the head of the hydrant. That’s where the outlet for the water is. Some of them are threaded, meaning you can attach a hose, while others are smooth. This is one of the most important features to keep in mind when you’re selecting a yard water hydrant. 

How you operate a yard hydrant can also vary between different models. Some hydrants have a spoked handle that you turn, while others have a long, gripable handle that you raise. The former category tends to be more decorative, while the latter is fairly strictly utilitarian. Different kinds of hydrant heads will dictate how they work.

The final component we’ll mention is inside of the standpipe. This is, of course, the valve. The valve has to sit below the frost line, which means it’s past the point where the ground freezes in the winter. This construction is how the hydrant can function all year long, even in extreme cold, without freezing the pipes.

How do I choose the right hydrant?

You have plenty of options when it comes to yard water hydrants. So, you’ll need some ways to narrow it down. A good place to start would be how decorative you want your yard hydrants to be. Some of them are more utilitarian, while others are designed to be more pleasing to the eye and fit in with a more upscale garden. 

Think about what you really want out of your hydrant and then go from there. Do you just need something that will get the water to where you need it, or will the standard models stick out to you as a bit of an eyesore? 

Then, of course, you want to consider the weather and climate conditions where you live. Most yard hydrants are self-draining, so they’re fit for most places. However, this is something you want to check before making a final decision, especially if you live somewhere that experiences extreme cold.

Another important aspect is what the hydrant is made of. For durability and longevity, you want to avoid cheap plastic construction. These sorts of parts tend to fail more quickly than their metal counterparts. 

Also, make sure your hydrant can be attached to the right kind of hose if that’s something you’re planning on using it for. They come in different sizes, and not all of them have the threading required to screw on a hose. A ¾” GHT (garden hose thread) is usually what most end users will want.

Finally, perhaps the most important consideration of all: Are you planning on using the yard water hydrant for drinking water? If so, you’ll need to find a model specifically designed for potable water. These are called sanitary hydrants and are designed not to drain to ground.

Can I install one myself?

You might want to save money by putting the hydrant in the ground yourself, sidestepping the need for a professional to come out to your property and get the job done. However, unless you’re totally confident in your digging and plumbing skills, it’s better to leave this job to the professionals.

You’ll need to dig deep enough that the pipe leading from the water supply to the hydrant is beneath the frost line. Depending on where you live, that could be a lot of digging. Find out how deep the ground freezes in your area and then make sure you’re willing and able to dig a trench that deep. If not, calling in the professionals to install your yard water hydrants is definitely the way to go. They’ll know exactly how to do it properly. That way, you’ll save yourself some major headaches down the line when the weather gets rough.

How do you maintain a yard hydrant?

Fortunately, yard hydrants do not require very much maintenance. And when they do, it should be fairly easy to service them. This can all be done from above ground — no digging required.

Yard hydrants drain to a level below the frost line, meaning you don’t have to worry about their pipes freezing. This is helpful for climates that experience extreme cold temperatures. Warmer areas don’t have to worry about pipes freezing as much, so this is less of a concern in those places.

While freezing shouldn’t be an issue if your yard water hydrants have been installed properly, there are other problems that might arise and require some work. Your hydrant might begin to leak, for example. In that case, you’ll likely need to replace the seat and/or O-rings on the plunger. Staying on top of leaks is important because it prevents freezing issues. 

So, to sum this all up, you don’t have to do much to maintain a yard hydrant, besides periodically changing the seat and O-rings on the plunger. You should be able to get many years of good use out of them without too many issues, and those can usually be fixed without much headache. The digging only needs to be done once when initially installing the yard hydrant.

Can I do the maintenance myself?

Much like the question as to whether you should have a professional install your yard hydrants to begin with, this one will depend on your comfort level with this kind of work. It’s certainly easier to do most of the typical maintenance or easy fixes than digging deep trenches, though. If you’re moderately handy, you can probably handle most of this on your own. 

Like we already said, you should be able to do basic fixes and maintenance without digging the hydrant up or doing anything too invasive. Most people can take care of it themselves, but you do want to be sure you’re doing the job properly. Check if there are any brand-specific instructions and collect all the tools you’ll need to make sure you have everything. As long as those boxes are ticked, then you should be able to take care of basic maintenance on your own.

How often will I have to replace a yard hydrant?

Regular wear and tear means no hydrant is going to last forever. However, you shouldn’t worry about replacing yard hydrants too often. As we explained in the previous section, you can service your hydrant from above ground if anything needs attention if the yard hydrant you choose has this ability. Digging up the whole thing and replacing it is a much more difficult task and shouldn’t be done unless absolutely necessary. 

It’s impossible to say exactly when that replacement will be unavoidable, but you should be able to count on many years of faithful service from your yard water hydrants. This is especially true if you avoid hydrants with cheap plastic parts and instead opt for durable materials like brass and steel.

Okay, you’ve convinced me. What are my next steps?

Now that you’re fairly confident a yard water hydrant is the right choice for your property, refer back to our section about choosing the right hydrant for your needs. Decide what you want and get looking! There are lots of yard hydrant options on the market. 

Whether you manage a commercial property like a golf course or just want an extra water outlet in your yard back home, these kinds of hydrants could make your life a whole lot easier. As we’ve explained, there are lots of great benefits to adding one of these pieces of equipment to your water system. They’re versatile, frost-proof, and able to meet a wide variety of needs.

You can start by seeing if any of your different yard hydrant options here at Kupferle will fit your needs.

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Why Dedicated Water Sampling Stations are a Good Practice

Test tubes for water sampling stationNo one wants to mess around when it comes to the quality of water in their community. Water quality management is one of the main public health concerns in any city, town, or county, and it’s absolutely imperative that waterworks professionals take it seriously. Regularly taking samples from the water main and testing them is a key way to judge the quality of the water. It’s possible to collect a sample from several different types of sources, but the one we’re going to focus on here is sampling stations.

We’ll answer all of the most common questions people tend to have about water sampling stations and their alternatives in the following sections. Some forms of water sampling involve water quality intelligent monitoring and flushing stations with sensors and PLCs, but that’s a different application from what we will discuss here. We’re focusing on collecting the sample to be sent to labs to test under the Revised Total Coliform Rule.

Why is water quality testing so important?

The answer here likely goes without saying, but water quality testing is absolutely vital and required to maintaining the health of a community. Some of the worst disease outbreaks of all time have been due to waterborne pathogens. Even though we have made great strides in water treatment and water quality management, ongoing testing ensures that our treatment strategies and the integrity of our distribution systems remain safe. Staying on top of water quality means frequent testing.

Because testing water for signs of potentially harmful microbials is so important, the government regulates how it’s done so that everyone abides by proper water quality standards. The next section will cover some of the major rules when it comes to water quality testing.

What kind of regulations apply to water quality testing?

When a professional in this field takes a sample, one of the main things they’re looking for are total coliforms. These are types of bacteria that are typically not harmful to humans, but they can be important warning signs that something is not quite right.

If you test a distribution system and no total coliforms are present, then it’s unlikely that there are fecal pathogens in that water supply. However, if coliforms are present in a sample, that indicates that the water distribution system might be a vulnerable to other pathogens such as fecal coliform or e. coli.

The federal Safe Drinking Water Act requires public water systems to test for coliforms as well as elements like arsenic, mercury, and fluoride, among many others. These tests are also required to happen at specific frequencies. In this piece, we are focusing on equipment used to take bacteriological samples, but know that water quality testing goes even farther than that.

Additionally, the Revised Total Coliform Rule mandates that if a sample tests positive for total coliforms, then more tests must be performed. A system must then test the sample for either fecal coliforms or e. coli bacteria. Then, within 24 hours, they must take three to four samples at sites near to the sampling site that produced the positive sample. Finally, within the next month of operation, they must take five or more routine samples.

On top of these federally mandated rules, the Environmental Protection Agency has specifically allowed dedicated sampling stations to be used for these purposes. We’ll go over some of the reasons why water sampling stations make more sense than their counterparts in a later section. First, we need to define what a dedicated sampling station is in the first place.

What is a dedicated sampling station?

A dedicated sampling station is a specialized piece of equipment where water operators can collect water samples directly from a distribution system in order to test it for harmful microbials or signs of harmful materials, like the tests we outlined above.

Dedicated sampling stations are convenient places to test the quality of a system’s water. They’re specifically designed and engineered for a single purpose, and they’re vital to ensuring the safety of a water distribution system.

What are the advantages of sampling stations over other options?

Number one is the convenience. When the utility controls the site, it can collect samples at any time. Other options for taking samples from a water system include going into a home or business, which means the operator would have to coordinate with the owner or resident making sure they are there in order to get access to a tap inside. Avoiding this with a dedicated water sampling station also decreases liability issues that might arise whenever water utility personnel step onto private property, such as property damage claims or other serious accusation like sexual harassment.

Another major advantage is that dedicated sampling stations have a singular purpose: To collect samples for water quality testing. When utilities use dedicated sampling stations, they control the tap. That means the cross-contamination potential is lower because it is a single-use tap unlike multi-use taps in kitchens and bathrooms. False positives are also less common with dedicated sampling stations. When the tap is regularly used for purposes other than sampling, it may potentially compromise the integrity of the sample.

A third reason why dedicated sampling stations are considered a best practice is utilities can obtain a quality water sample directly from the water main. If you’re using a home’s sink, as an example, then you run the risk of taking samples filtered through the site plumbing rather than directly from the water main. Dedicated sampling stations enable utilities to get a better representative sample of water that they produce right from the water main.

Another disadvantage of using private or public taps is that your site map can constantly be changing as people move and relocate. When this happens, you will have to resubmit your sampling map to the EPA for approval if your sample location changes from one house to another. With dedicated sampling stations your site map remains the same once you have installed dedicated sampling stations throughout the system.

Drawbacks of Sampling Stations

While there are many benefits of choosing a dedicated sampling station over taking samples from multi-use taps, they also have a few cons you should keep in mind. Obviously, we think the pros far outweigh them, but you should be aware of them, nonetheless.

The most obvious one is the cost of purchasing and installing the dedicated sampling stations. Most utilities will budget a number of stations per year making it easier to completely revamp their system over a period of time. If making the move to dedicated sampling stations, utilities will want to place these into their specs so that any new construction will include them in the plans. Additionally, like any type of operating hydrant there are maintenance costs of replacing seats to keep the stations functioning as design without leaking. These costs are nominal, and all maintenance can be performed from above ground with digging required.

What kind of dedicated sampling stations are out there?

Let’s go through the kinds of dedicated sampling stations Kupferle manufactures so you can get a better idea of what your options are. One thing that all Kupferle dedicated sampling stations share (and that no sampling station should have) are nozzles without threads and no drain/weep hole. As threads collect “gunk” they can possibly produce a false negative if this “gunk” may happen to get into the sample. Additionally, one should never take a water quality sample from any type of hydrant or device that drains to ground as cross-contamination from the ground water may again create a false positive sample.

Eclipse #88 Series

These best-selling dedicated sampling stations all share the same sturdy cast-aluminum powder-coated enclosure. Some are designed for freezing climates while other are for non-freezing (WC designation) areas of the country. The #88-SS and #88WC-SS both utilize an all-stainless steel waterway, while the #88 and #88WC use brass. Kupferle also offers an extreme cold climate model the Eclipse #88-SS-R that allows for the entire waterway to be removed if a freezing incident happens due to a leaking seat or an operator who may have forgotten to pump out the station. This station is for far north locations like the northern US and Canada. To keep water that is caught above the seat when shutting off the stations for cold climates, Kupferle has engineered a way to remove this water by plugging what would be the drain/week hole and running an evacuation line up inside the enclosure to a petcock above grade. Operators would use a small rechargeable Electric Evacuation Pump (sold separately) that they would attach to the petcock at the end of the evacuation line in order to pump out any remaining standing water during freezing seasons.

All the Eclipse #88 series products are easy to service from above ground, meaning crews won’t have to dig in order to do maintenance. The Eclipse #88 products are housed in lockable enclosures so that no unauthorized parties can use them. These enclosures are made of cast aluminum, making them extremely durable.

MainGuard #66 Series

The MainGuard #66 series shares the same stainless-steel waterway at the #88-SS and #88WC-SS but it is housed inside a fabricated aluminum enclosure instead of cast. Like the other sampling stations we’ve discussed, the MainGuard #66 and the MainGuard #66WC are meant to be placed outside where it’s easiest for sampling crews to access them. However, this line of stations has another option. The MainGuard #66MB is designed to be installed inside, perfect for public buildings (like fire stations) that are used for collecting samples. It features built-in mounting brackets, which allow you to place them on the wall with minimal effort.

As noted above, the MainGuard #66 sampling stations are housed in lockable, brushed aluminum enclosures, but an optional plastic dome or bollard enclosure is also available.

MainGuard #95WM

Visually, this type of water quality testing equipment is very different from the other sampling stations we’ve discussed this far. It is a meter resetter sampling stations that is housed inside of an existing meter box. It is easy to install and easy to take samples from using a sampling rod that threads onto the sampling point spring-loaded nozzle (sold separately with carrying case). It has adjustable horns that rotate to accommodate any size/shape meter and are replaceable if broken. Can also be used as a temporary station for additional upstream/downstream samples when needed.

Some other key features include an isolation shut-off maintenance valve, a three quarter inch stainless steel threaded sampling point, and copper horns with brass meter nuts.

MainGuard #94WM

One difference between the MainGuard #95WM and the #94WM is that the former includes a schedule 80 PVC body while this one has a brass body. Same sampling point as above using the same rod and carrying case. Like the 95WM it utilizes a coarse-threaded spring-loaded sampling nozzle that eliminates using any type of force to connect unlike quick-disconnect versions that eventually leak.

MainGuard #77-Hybrid

The hybrid in the name of this product indicates that it has two different functions in one piece of equipment: A sampling station and a flushing hydrant.

We’ve written about the importance of flushing aging water out of your distribution system in the past, and flush hydrants can be helpful tools in that endeavor. This station combined the 2” flushing power of a blow-off with a dedicated sampling point for collecting samples. Like the #88 and #66 series of sampling stations for cold climates it does not drain to ground, but can be evacuated using Kupferle’s Electric Evacuation Pump during freezing seasons.

Eclipse #82WC

Like the above #77-Hybrid, the Eclipse #82WC provides a 2” flushing option to move water quickly before collecting samples but also incorporates a mechanical draining feature to keep it from freezing instead of using the Electric Evacuation Pump. Even in some warm climate areas there can occasionally be a flash freeze now and then. This station is designed to bleed water when temperatures fall below a certain level keeping the water moving and the standing pipe from freezing.

Its stainless-steel waterway is housed in a lockable plastic enclosure.

How do I choose the right water sampling station for my distribution system?

Once you’ve chosen to opt for a dedicated sampling station rather than using a tap that has other purposes, then you need to select the right piece of equipment for your system. There are several considerations that you should take into account.

When choosing the right water sampling stations for your system, you should already know to keep your community’s climate in mind. Some are meant for warm climates where freezing isn’t an issue, while others are built to withstand cold and extreme freezing temperatures.

Since the convenience of a dedicated sampling station is one of the main reasons to add one to your distribution system, the placement of the station is highly important. You’ll want crews to have easy access.

Now you’re ready to make your decision.

We couldn’t possibly turn you from a newcomer to a complete expert in water sampling and water quality management in just one blog post, but now that you’ve reached the end, you should have a good base of knowledge to get you started on the right path.

You now know about the major regulations in place that make water sampling stations necessary, and you’ve read about the reasons why dedicated sampling stations are often a better alternative than taps that are also used for other purposes when it comes to water quality testing. We also discussed the different products Kupferle manufactures to meet these needs, so you should have an informed understanding of the options that Kupferle offers.

With all of that in mind, you should be pretty well prepared to choose the right sampling stations for your distribution system, but if you need some additional assistance don’t hesitate to contact Kupferle at [email protected] or call at 800-321-3990.

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Blow-offs FAQ

blow-off

When many people think about hydrants, they picture the classic, yellow or red fire hydrant featured in most neighborhoods. However, there’s a whole lot more to a water system than just those quintessential fire hydrants. In order to make sure that all members of a community are getting fresh, clean, and appropriately safe treated water, lots of equipment needs to be in place. The water needs to go through a properly functioning treatment facility, and ultimately end up being delivered to the consumer. A blow-off or flushing hydrant could be the right upgrade for your water system, helping to improve and maintain water quality.

In this blog post, we’re going to explain what exactly a blow-off is, where it’s useful, and the different options you have if you’d like to add these to your system. You should know which type of blow-off or flushing hydrant should work best for you when you reach the end, or at least have a good idea of what your next steps should be. Read on for a complete view of a blow-off or flushing hydrant’s purpose.

Where is a blow-off or flushing hydrant most useful?

Dead-end lines are the ones that need the most attention when it comes to flushing. Treated water that ages needs to be flushed in order to maintain safe residuals for consumers. So, when it comes to many dead-end mains, they need to be flushed out regularly to bring in new, treated water into the line. This helps avoid any issues in water quality for customers. That’s why a blow-off or flushing hydrant’s main purpose is to move aging water out of a system, keeping it fresh and safe for consumers to use.

Professionals in the field have a few options when it comes to accomplishing that flushing. They can open up and flush fire hydrants at the end of those water mains, getting rid of the old water that way. However, if there’s no need for fire protection at the end of a main, and there is no existing fire hydrant, it might be better to install a blow-off or flushing hydrant at that site. That leads us to our next section…

What is a blow-off / flushing hydrant?

A blow-off or flushing hydrant is a device that accomplishes the flushing goals we outlined in the previous section. It doesn’t have the fire protection capabilities as a fire hydrant does, and its primary (sometimes only) function is to flush out old water, especially in dead-end water mains. We’ll go over certain blow-off or flushing hydrant’s expanded purposes in a later section, but for now, just know that these devices are highly specialized and designed to turn over water lines that have water quality issues due to aging water.

Since the primary purpose of a blow-off or flushing hydrant is to flush water out of a system, it is designed toward that end. They feature unique valves, variously sized inlets, variously sized outlets, either a post or box that can be above, below, or at grade, and depending on the model several other features to achieve the goal of flushing. Blow-offs and flushing hydrants are usually 2” or 4” in size and are engineered to turn water lines to improve and maintain water quality, not scour them.

Now that we’re all on the same page as to what a blow-off or flushing hydrant is in the first place, let’s look at why they’re often a good fit for a water system.

What are the benefits of a blow-off or flushing hydrant?

The positives and purposes of a blow-off or flushing hydrant might not seem like a lot at first glance, but they can definitely be game-changers for specific water systems. Here are a few of those benefits:

Low Maintenance

The right blow-off or flushing hydrant doesn’t require much maintenance. And when it does, you can maintain it from above ground without digging. Maintenance usually includes only changing seats and O-rings on a periodic basis dependent upon how often the unit is exercised.

Better Water Quality

We’ve already mentioned how flushing dead-end mains improves and maintains water quality for consumers, but it bears repeating. Installing a blow-off or flushing hydrant in key places is a good strategy for improving a system’s water quality. Regular flushing means keeping chlorine residuals in the safe range and removing aging water before harmful disinfection byproducts can form. 

Beats the Alternatives

There are certainly other ways of flushing water through a system to keep the water age low. Many places achieve this through opening regular fire hydrants and letting water out that way. However, those pieces of equipment are not designed specifically for flushing. When using a fire hydrant for flushing, water goes around the plunger where debris in the water may scar the seat, O-rings or do damage to the hydrant in other ways. Many flushing hydrants are engineered with a two-pipe design whereby the plunger moves up and completely out of the way of the flushing water reducing wear and tear on unit itself. A blow-off or flushing hydrant’s design is more closely aligned with flushing.

Cost Savings

If you choose to install a blow-off or flush

ing hydrant instead of a typical fire hydrant, you could be saving as much as half the cost or more. If fire protection is not needed and your purpose is strictly flushing, a blow-off or flushing hydrant means your choice will be much more inexpensive and efficient. While some 2” blow-offs or flushing hydrants can’t flush as much water as a fire hydrant, other 4” flow-off or flushing hydrants absolutely can. Making sure you’re only getting exactly what you need can save your system money.

What types of blow-offs and flushing hydrants does Kupferle make?

If we’ve convinced you that you need to add a blow off water valve to your water system, then you’re in luck. Kupferle has several different options for you to consider. Here, we’ll walk you through them. You can contact us or find a local rep if you need more information or help making a decision, of course, but the following descriptions should be a good place to start. 

MainGuard #77

The MainGuard #77 Post Hydrant provides the best in performance and value. Designed and engineered specifically for flushing, the #77 provides excellent flow rates for improving chlorine residual levels and flushing disinfection byproducts (DBPs) to keep water safe for consumers. The unique valve design allows for a full clear-channel flow that is superior to other blow-offs for moving water and passing debris easily. The #77 plunger is also designed to allow for throttling the flow of water while at the same time covering the drain hole to avoid unnecessary erosion. The MainGuard #77 comes standard with all brass principle working parts, 2″ FIP vertical inlet, 2 ½” NST outlet, traffic break-away, and locking security cover. The #77 is self-draining and non-freezing, The MainGuard #77 is fully serviceable from above ground. Certified to NSF/ANSI 372.

MainGuard #78

The MainGuard #78 Blow-Off installs underground in a standard meter box. Designed and engineered specifically for flushing, the #78 provides excellent flow rates for improving chlorine residual levels and flushing disinfection byproducts (DBPs) to keep water safe for consumers. Its unique valve design allows for a full clear-channel flow that is superior to other blow-offs for moving water and passing debris easily. The #78 is also designed to allow for throttling the flow of water while at the same time covering the drain hole to avoid unnecessary erosion. The MainGuard #78 comes standard with all brass principle working parts, a 2″ FIP vertical inlet, a 2 ½” NST outlet, and locking security cover. The #78 is self-draining, non-freezing, and is fully serviceable from above ground. Certified to NSF/ANSI 372.

Eclipse #2

The Eclipse #2 post hydrant has been one of the bestselling flushing hydrants for water main dead ends for over 100 years. Designed for performance and durability, the Eclipse #2 provides excellent flow rates for improving chlorine residual levels and flushing disinfection byproducts (DBPs) to keep water safe for consumers. The Eclipse #2 comes standard with all brass principle working parts, multiple inlet choices up to 4″ MJ, and multiples outlets up to 2½” NST, and is self-draining and non-freezing. The Eclipse #2 is fully serviceable from above ground. Certified to NSF/ANSI 372.

Eclipse #85

The Eclipse #85 Blow-Off Hydrant is designed and engineered specifically for flushing and provides excellent flow rates for improving chlorine residual levels and flushing disinfection byproducts (DBPs) to keep water safe for consumers. The #85 Eclipse Blow-Off Hydrant is designed with a heavy wall cast-iron box. The box sits at ground level and is non-traffic rated. The Eclipse #85 comes standard with all brass principle working parts, multiple inlet choices up to 4″ MJ, and multiples outlets up to 2½” NST, and is self-draining and non-freezing. The Eclipse #85 is fully serviceable from above ground. Certified to NSF/ANSI 372.

MainGuard #7500

The MainGuard #7500 Post Hydrant is designed and engineered specifically for flushing large amounts of water quickly. The unit provides excellent flow rates comparable to a standard fire hydrant. The MainGuard #7500 provides a high flow rate for scouring applications such as unidirectional flushing and the unique valve design allows for flushing of large debris. The unit provides ample flushing velocities usually at half the cost of a fire hydrant. The MainGuard #7500 comes standard with all brass principle working parts, 4” MJ inlet and a 4″ FIP outlet and is self-draining and non-freezing. The MainGuard #7500 is fully serviceable from above ground. Certified to NSF/ANSI 372.

MainGuard #7600

The MainGuard #7600 blow-off installs underground in a meter box and is designed and engineered specifically for flushing large amounts of water quickly. The unit provides excellent flow rates comparable to a standard fire hydrant at half the cost. The MainGuard #7600 blow-off hydrant provides a high flow rate for scouring applications such as unidirectional flushing and the unique valve design allows for flushing of large debris. The MainGuard #7600 comes standard with all brass principle working parts, 4” MJ inlet and 4″ FIP outlet, and is self-draining and non-freezing. The MainGuard #7600 is fully serviceable from above ground. Certified to NSF/ANSI 372.

Truflo #TF500

The Truflo #TF500 Blow-Off is designed and engineered with a slim profile that fits into a standard 5¼” adjustable valve box. The #TF500 provides an alternative to a gate valve, 2” blow-off assembly with two valve boxes and is built for frequent exercising and longevity with minimal maintenance. The #TF500 is cast iron, steel, and brass construction with all brass principle working parts. An all brass option (see photo) is also available. The Truflo #TF500 comes standard with a 2” FIP vertical inlet, and a 2” MIP outlet. The Truflo #TF500 is fully serviceable from above ground. Certified to NSF/ANSI 372.

Truflo #TF550

The Truflo #TF550 Blow-Off is designed and engineered with a slim profile that fits into a standard 5¼” adjustable valve box. The #TF550 provides an alternative to ball valve operated blow-offs, as it utilizes a plunger assembly that is easily maintainable and repairable providing longevity with minimal maintenance. The #TF550 is all brass construction with all brass principle working parts. The Truflo #TF550 comes standard with a 2” FIP vertical straight inlet and a 2” MIP outlet. The Truflo #TF550 is fully serviceable from above ground. Certified to NSF/ANSI 372.

What should you consider when choosing the right blow-off or flush hydrant?

All of the options we’ve detailed thus far are good fits for certain situations, but you need to make sure the functionality and purpose of the blow-off or flushing hydrant fits your specifications. 

Perhaps the first criteria you should think about is what you actually need a blow-off or flushing hydrant to do. First, keep your climate top of mind. While most of Kupferle’s blow-offs and flushing hydrants are made for all climates there are a few that are designed for just warm climates. Secondly, determine what flow rate you require. Kupferle blow-offs and flushing hydrants can flush from 380 gpm to up to 1390 gpm (comparable to a fire hydrant). So, knowing the length and diameter of the dead end main can help you choose the right model. Lastly, determine if you want a blow-off / flushing hydrant that is above or below grade. Kupferle offers many of its models in both styles. Below grade blow-offs that can fit into as small as a 5-1/4” valve box or standard meter box to above grade flushing hydrants that resemble a mini-fire hydrant.

Now you know the purpose of a blow-off or flushing hydrant.

Now that you have a better idea of what a blow-off or flushing hydrant does and who it benefits, you should be in a good position to decide whether they might be a good fit for your water system. If you have a dead-end water main that you need to flush regularly, a blow-off or flushing hydrant could be a great solution. They’re easy to service, keep the water fresh and safe for human consumption, and offer a great alternative to traditional fire hydrants for flushing purposes. They cost less than many of your other options, so if there’s a concern about affordability, blow-offs and flushing hydrants could be a solution. Plus, once you’ve installed a blow-off hydrant, it should last for a long time.

Maintaining the appropriate level of chlorine residuals is paramount in keeping water systems safe. Blow-offs and flushing hydrants can help you do that, so if you’re interested, consider upgrading your system. We attempted to answer all of the frequently asked questions surrounding blow-offs and flushing hydrants here, but of course, we can’t anticipate everything you want to know. To that end, feel free to reach out with more things you want to know about the purposes and functionality of both blow-offs and flushing hydrants.

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Smart Fire Hydrants and their Alternatives

Technology these days is going at lightspeed, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down any time soon. All the different capabilities of the new gadgets constantly hitting the market keep ballooning to higher and higher levels. There are very few industries that remain unaffected, and the waterworks industry is definitely not one of them. Introducing intelligent monitoring and flushing technology to your water system could be just what you need to bring a distribution system into the 21st century.

Making sure your water system has the right mix of equipment is paramount to improving and maintaining drinking water quality. Your community is counting on it, and they might not even know it. Here, we’re going to explore a couple of your options when it comes to water quality equipment in your distribution system, with a particular focus on adding intelligent monitoring and flushing capabilities.

At first blush, these different types of stations might sound quite similar, but that’s only if you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of water systems and the different fire hydrant options within them. For example, an Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing station and a smart fire hydrant might sound like similar pieces of equipment, but they actually have very little in common with each other. And if you’re going to make an informed choice about what kind of equipment you’re going to install in the water system, then you need to read up on those important differences. That’s why we’re here.

First, we’ll explain some basic concepts. 

What is a smart fire hydrant?

Of course, there’s no way you’ll want to add smart fire hydrant technology to your existing distribution system if you don’t know what it entails. That makes a brief explainer an excellent place to start. 

Calling a fire hydrant smart doesn’t mean it got a good grade on its SATs — a smart fire hydrant simply means it’s got some kind of technology component added to it. Some smart fire hydrants can collect and send water usage data with the goal of increasing efficiency, while others monitor the chlorine residuals, making sure they stay in the appropriate range. No matter what a smart fire hydrant is monitoring, the name indicates that it’s using sensors to take readings and record data relevant to the concerns of utilities. Then, it will store or report that data in a way that makes it convenient for interested parties to retrieve it.

The alternatives are what utilities have been doing for years — manually taking readings, flushing hydrants if necessary, or otherwise using manpower to make sure the system is functioning properly.

What kind of smart fire hydrant options are there?

Some smart fire hydrants are their own complete unit. These would fully replace traditional fire hydrants in a water system.

However, there’s also the option of retrofitting existing fire hydrants with a smart cap or other small device that has all the same smart capabilities. This sort of option can be particularly cost-effective, since many places don’t want to spring for all new fire hydrants all at once. Instead, you can purchase smart elements to upgrade existing fire hydrants. 

Here at Kupferle, we have several smart fire hydrant add-on options. Take, for example, the Eclipse #9250i. While not an entire smart fire hydrant itself, it’s a piece of equipment that can enhance the monitoring abilities of existing fire hydrants. This is a portable unit that attaches to the 2-1/2” NST nozzle and can be moved around your distribution system to monitor the pressure at various points. You’ll get real-time information about your water system pressure via cellular communication, which is a big draw for many. On top of all that, this product is solar powered, which means don’t even need to worry about periodically replacing batteries or the rolling cost of sending a worker out to do this. That’ll save you some valuable maintenance time and money. And since this unit is solar-powered, you can program the unit to send pressure data at 5-minute intervals or longer without having to worry about the battery going dead. You can also take advantage of notifications for high or low pressure threshold conditions.

Another intelligent option here at Kupferle is the Eclipse #9700i-Solar. This is a portable Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing station you can use on your existing fire hydrants to collect and transmit critical water quality data. The Eclipse #9700-Solar attaches to the 2-1/2” NST nozzle and can house up to eight sensors that monitor water quality aspects like chlorine (free, combined, or total), pressure, turbidity, pH, temperature, ORP, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, fluoride, among others. You’ll set the water quality parameters for chlorine (low and desired levels), and/or turbidity and the unit will flush to maintain these parameters, as well as, collect and transmit the data. This valuable data is easy to access and use (CSV files). Again, this product is not a smart fire hydrant on its own, but an analytical tool you can use to monitor water quality in various points of your distribution system utilizing your existing fire hydrants. 

A third option is for an activity every water utility performs on a regular basis…flushing fire hydrants. No matter how big or small a system, everyone flushes fire hydrants. But when flushing fire hydrants to raise chlorine residuals and improve the turbidity (clarity) of the water how do you know when you are done? For chlorine, most systems take hand samples and process them using a colorimetric chlorine analyzer. But for turbidity it is a bit harder and mostly done by looking at the clarity of the water in a white cup or mason jar. Kupferle provides yet another solution that piggybacks on fire hydrant flushing know at the Eclipse #9750i (aka The Flushing Buddy). The Flushing Buddy is a small case with a handle that goes with the crew and connects to a fire hydrant via a 2-1/2” hose connection. As the fire hydrant flushes the Flushing Buddy monitors the flush and alerts the crew when the chlorine and turbidity goals have been met, thus letting them know when to turn off the hydrant without guessing. Water quality data from multiple flushes is captured and is easily accessible to be loaded into a GIS program, pre-formatted spreadsheets (supplied by Kupferle) or imported into an existing SCADA system. The Flushing Buddy is another Intelligent Monitoring device that saves utilities precious time, water and money.

Smart Fire Hydrants and Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing

It turns out that Intelligent technology in water distribution systems can do a whole lot more than simply monitor and alert you to any problems with the equipment. It can also be massively useful to the flushing process. Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing can truly change the game when it comes to keeping your water fresh and safe. 

First of all, flushing is a process of removing water out of a distribution system. This is necessary in order to raise residual levels back to safe levels and remove aging water before disinfectant byproducts can form, both of which can post a threat to consumer’s health. There are a few ways to accomplish flushing a water distribution system, but by far the most high-tech is with Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing Stations.

Flushing needs to happen fairly often in order to maintain the integrity of the water system, especially on water main dead-ends. Dead-ends with aging water issues need to be flushed at least once a week to prevent the formation of disinfection byproducts and also to make sure that chlorine residuals don’t fall below the minimum residual level so that they can’t properly combat the growth and spread of any microbial pathogens that might be present in the water supply.

By far the easiest and most efficient way to accomplish this important task is through Automatic Flushing Stations. The alternatives are far more labor intensive, time-consuming, and inefficient uses of water. So, let’s dive a little deeper into Automatic Flushing Stations to make it clear why they make a lot of sense in the smart hydrant space. 

Automatic Flushing Stations

Maybe it’s redundant to explain what an automatic flushing station is, since it’s a fairly straightforward concept, but for the sake of clarity, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page. These are not fire hydrants, but are a simple technology to employ either by attaching to existing fire hydrants or attaching directly to the main. Their sole functionality is to flush a water main dead-end or low flow area on a scheduled, programmed basis. No utility manpower needs to be used to accomplish this, which is a huge advantage over more traditional flushing methods. These stations operate solely on the power of a 9-volt battery.

Automatic Flushing Stations come with a handheld or Bluetooth controller that is simple to program and use. Using this device, you can set your desired day/time/duration for flushing. There’s plenty more to learn about Automatic Flushing Stations, and you can check out our other post on the subject here.

Why Should You Choose an Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing Station?

There are plenty of reasons why Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing technology is the way of the future. We’ll list some of them here.

  • Better data means better decisions. Using either a portable or permanent Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing Station means you’ll be able to more accurately track water quality data like chlorine residuals, turbidity, pressure, etc. Having those data points will clue you into what’s actually going on in your water system. So when it comes time to make decisions about adding Automatic Flushing Stations, booster stations to raise residuals, replacing equipment, scheduling flushing crews to go out, or any other important aspect of your distribution system, you’ll have all the information you need to make informed choices.
  • Being proactive saves time and money. Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing Stations can let you know when there’s an issue, meaning you can get in front of it before it becomes a larger huge problem. For example, an Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing Station, whether portable or permanent, can send pressure alarms to alert utilities of possible main breaks in certain zones of their system allowing them to get a “head start” in minimizing the damage that could occur and begin work on the issue.
  • Technology makes processes more efficient. While an Automatic Flushing Station is not an Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing Station, these units definitely fit under the same technology umbrella but in a lesser sense. As we’ve seen, Automatic Flushing Stations are much more efficient at flushing water main dead-ends on a consistent basis than the alternative of manually flushing fire hydrants. They don’t require crews to manually flush, they can be programmed to operate in the middle of the night when demand time for water is at its lowest point, and they can more accurately flush the right amount of water saving as much as 50% flushed water.

What is an Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing Station?

We won’t get very far if we’re not all on the page about what an Intelligent Monitor and Flushing Station even is. An Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing Station and a smart fire hydrant might sound somewhat similar if you’re not familiar with what they do. Smart fire hydrants can monitor pressure, etc. and send data using replaceable lithium-ion batteries, but they are hampered by the amount of power available. This can limit the frequency of which they collect and send data before batteries need to be replaced. But smart fire hydrants only report water quality data. In order to address issues crews must be deployed to flush in order to improve water quality. On the other hand, Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing Stations not only monitor water quality with up to 8 separate sensors per station, but they also can improve and maintain water quality by flushing the exact amount of water needed to maintain safe residuals and remove aging water based on real water data and then transmit that data via a cellular connection. Additionally, most all of these stations are powered by lithium-ion batteries that are recharged either by solar panels or a water turbine that captures the kinetic energy of the flushing water.

Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing Stations can not only be used to monitor and flush water to maintain water quality inside of a distribution system, they can also be used to monitor purchased or sold water from water wholesalers or municipal utilities that provide water over large geographical areas. As an example, a city in Ontario, Canada purchased water from another city that was some distance away. The water provider was required to deliver water with a minimum of a .2ppm residual. The buyer used a Kupferle Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing Station to monitor the purchased water and automatically flushed any water that fell below the minimum. In the first year, it saved the purchasing city over $250,000 in flushed water using the data the Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing Station provided. Water wholesalers can also benefit by monitoring the water they sell to cities and other water districts guaranteeing the quality of the water based on Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing Station data.

Kupferle manufactures a full array of Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing Stations. Portable stations that attached to fire hydrants, permanent stations that tap directly to the main in either warm or cold climates. Wall mounted monitoring stations that can be installed into existing pump stations, booster stations or any location with power and water. Portable and permanent pressure sensor stations that either attach to a fire hydrant or can tap directly to the main, a boss on a fire or flushing hydrant, or be incorporated into a meter resetter in a meter box.

Whatever you application need might be, Kupferle can provide a standard or customized Intelligent Monitoring and Flushing Station to fit you need.

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Top 6 Benefits of an Automatic Flushing Station

When you turn on the tap to fill up a nice, cool, refreshing glass of water, you expect a clean stream to land in your glass, right? Ensuring the quality of our water is a top public health concern for any community. According to the World Health Organization, unsanitary water can lead to the spread of cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio, among other diseases. We’re lucky that most places here in the U.S. do have access to clean water for drinking, cooking, and other domestic uses, but that doesn’t mean this is a given. Keeping the quality of water at an acceptable level is no small task. Making sure water utilities have the equipment to properly attend to that concern is paramount, and one of those types of equipment is an automatic flushing station.

Here, we’ll take you through just a handful of the benefits an automatic flushing station can bring to a water system. We’ll detail how efficient, user-friendly, and effective these automatic flushing stations are, and why you should consider adding automatic flushing stations into your distribution system.

Before we jump into any of this, though, we need to make sure we’re all on the same page regarding the definition of an automatic flushing station. These devices can be a vital tool in improving and maintaining water quality, like we said, but many people in the water industry haven’t ever heard of them. We’ll define what an automatic flushing station is, and then we’ll get into what automatic flushing does. After we get that out of the way, we’ll move into what we promised you: Six benefits of an automatic flushing station. Sound good? Let’s begin.

What is flushing, and what different options are out there?

At the most basic level, flushing just means running water through a distribution system to freshen it up, getting rid of the old water and bringing in the new to raise residual levels and remove aging water before disinfectant byproducts form. When it comes to flushing a water system, your main options are an automatic flushing station, which we’ll talk about in detail in the rest of this piece, or flushing a fire hydrant or blow-off.

For now, let’s focus on flushing hydrants. Maybe you’ve seen water all over the street around a hydrant in the early spring months before and wondered what had happened. The likely cause was flushing. Cities will have crews go around and flush fire hydrants periodically, typically twice a year. This helps maintain the integrity of the water system. 

While flushing once or twice per year may be OK for exercising hydrants or flushing out debris from the system it is usually not sufficient to address aging water issues, especially on water main dead-ends. When chlorine is added to water and chemically changes the makeup of it, and then that water ages, two dynamics come into play. First, chlorine in water mains dissipates over time and can disappear altogether, usually within the first two weeks if customers on dead-end mains are not sufficiently using enough water and turning over the line. Once residuals fall below a .2 ppm for Free Chlorine / .5 ppm for Combined Chlorine, they are no longer able to control the growth and spread of microbial pathogens that may be present. Second, when naturally occurring organic material (NOOMs) that is in all water comes into contact with chlorine, these NOOMs are transformed into toxins we refer to as Disinfection By-Products or DBPs. These DBPs when consumed, inhaled (as in a shower mist), or absorbed through the skin can cause serious health issues such as heart disease, liver damage, and/or reduced nervous system activity. DBPs usually begin to form in as little as 4-7 days, so it is important to flush dead-end mains with aging water issues at least once per week.

So, while flushing hydrants is a good practice to improve water quality in general, it does not address the ongoing water quality issues of problematic dead-end mains. This is where alternatives come into play. Let’s get into them.

What is an automatic flushing station?

We won’t get very far into it without explaining what an automatic flushing station is to begin with. It’s important for all of us to be on the same page. And we can’t even begin to explain what an automatic flushing station is before explaining the water systems they’re part of.

We’re acting like this is some kind of big reveal, but it’s not, really. An automatic flushing station is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. When you’ve got to get water to people for all the things they need water to do, you need to make sure it’s clean and safe. Due to some factors we’ll detail in later sections, aging and stagnant chlorinated water does not fit that bill. One of the main goals of a water system is to keep water moving through the distribution system so that it never sits still long enough for chlorine residuals to dissipate, making it susceptible to the growth and spread of microbial pathogens, and for DBPs to begin to form.

As we’ve already discussed, flushing a water system can be done through opening a fire hydrant and releasing water that way. While a fire hydrant has several different functions in addition to flushing potential, an automatic flushing station’s singular purpose is to automatically flush areas with aging water issues on a scheduled programmed basis without the need for any utility manpower being present. 

Now that we’re all on the same page regarding what flushing is and what equipment you can use to do it, let’s jump into what we promised at the outset. Here are the six main benefits of choosing an automatic flushing system over the alternatives.

1. Helps prevent DBPs

The health benefits of automatic flushing are definitely paramount, but we can’t dive straight in. Once again, we need to clarify some terms before we can get any deeper. So, let’s answer a pretty important question…

What are DBPs?

DBP stands for disinfection byproduct. The process of making water safe to drink involves several steps and the additional of chemicals. The main player here is chlorine. According to the CDC, chlorine started being used as a disinfectant in 1850, and it became more widely used in the early 1900s. Today, chlorine is the most commonly used chemical disinfectant for water in the U.S. It’s an important tool that completely revolutionized water purification, so it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t also have drawbacks. When you use chlorine to purify water, and  it comes into contact with NOOMs that are present in all water, it can transform these NOOMs into toxins we call DBPs. When consumed, inhaled (as in a shower mist) or absorbed into the skin these DBPs can cause several health issues including heart disease, liver damage, and/or reduced nervous system activity.

How does a flushing station prevent DBPs?

One of the main ways to prevent DBPs is by not letting the water sit around for too long. A flushing station can get rid of any water that’s gotten old. Professionals in this field will talk about decreasing water age, and they don’t mean finding the fountain of youth. All it means is that after chlorine has been added to water, it’s a matter of time before DBPs start to form, so it’s important to make sure all the water you’re using isn’t “old” and prone to harmful DBPs. 

Automatic flushing removes that old water out of the system on a regular scheduled basis. That reduces the “age” of the water you’re using by getting rid of the old and bringing in new. The safe level of chlorine residuals can be attained through flushing the water out before DBPs have a chance to form. That lets a community have the disinfecting benefits of chlorinated water while avoiding the potential harmful effects of DBPs. 

2. Easy to use

This is a particular benefit for automatic flushing stations, as opposed to all flushing methods. Automatic Flushing Stations include a hand-held or Bluetooth controller whereby a user can program a set day/time/duration for flushing water lines. For example, you might set a schedule of three days a week for 20 minutes at 2 a.m. Automatic flushing stations allow users to flush during the lowest demand time, usually in the middle of the night, when most customers are asleep providing a fresh line of water for the morning.

Automatic flushing is definitely an easy way to go toward ensuring the quality of your water and most of the time the only maintenance needed is to replace two 9-volt batteries about once per year. Not all dead-end mains need to be flushed out as often as the example we gave above, as many of these have sufficient turnover. However, automatic flushing stations can be a huge asset for those dead-end mains that do require frequent flushing due to water aging issues.

With automatic flushing stations you flush less water, more often keeping chlorine residual levels consistently safe and removing aging water before DBPs can form. The EPA bench tested automatic flushing stations and found that they flushed up to 50% less water compared to flushing fire hydrants, saving utilities water and money.

3. Improves water quality

As we already explained in a previous section, an automatic flushing station can refresh a water line supply, meaning DBPs have less of a chance of forming. This is one of the ways in which automatic flushing equipment can improve water quality. 

But DBPs aren’t the only factor impacting the healthfulness of the water. Keeping safe residual levels is also an important factor in keeping water safe for consumers. Most states require a .2 ppm residual for free chlorine and a .5 ppm for combined chlorine. These minimum required levels ensure that the chlorine is strong enough the control the growth and spread of microbials that may find their way into the water system. So by using automatic flushing stations users can maintain safe residuals AND remove old water on a regular basis before DBPs form.

Additionally, discoloration can also be controlled by using automatic flushing stations. As water sits idle in older iron pipes (usually overnight) discoloration can occur. By programming automatic flushing station to turn the water line in the early morning hours this discoloration can be removed before customers begin to use the line.

4. Saves water

Your options other than a flushing station are going to use a whole lot more water than automatic flushing technology. The average flow from a fire hydrant is around 1500 gpm as opposed to an automatic flushing station that flushes anywhere from 20 -200 gpm. By flushing less water more often using an automatic flushing station, users can save about half as much flushed water compared to flushing fire hydrants. This saves water, labor time and, in turn, money and the environment. Automatic flushing stations are key in providing health benefits, which we’ve already detailed: The water quality improves when aging water is regularly flushed out.

5. Boosts efficiency

When you couple those water-saving benefits we just discussed with the time savings that automatic flushing stations can bring, you have a huge time efficiency boost on your hands. Let’s face it, new EPA water regulations continue to roll out, distribution systems continue grow and expand, and most water utilities are not overstaffed. Automatic flushing stations can help utilities address and accomplish more pressing issues rather than spend extra labor time on manually flushing fire hydrants

And as far as maintenance goes, automatic flushing stations only require a change of 9-volt batteries about once per year and occasionally cleaning out the valve if debris keeps it from closing properly.

6. More convenient 

Remember what we said about how hydrant flushing works? A crew goes around and releases water from the hydrant in a controlled manner, getting rid of all the old water. For someone to do this manually, that means it’s going to happen during daytime hours, when water is in high demand in the community. An automatic flushing station solves this issue. You can program it to run during the nighttime hours, when water demand is usually at its lowest level. That will alleviate some of the issues we highlighted earlier — namely, customers noticing discolored water or decreased water pressure.

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Automatic Flushing: The Cost Effective Way To Improve Water Quality

Consolidated Utility District (CUD), located in Murfreesboro, TN, is a lare water System that encompasses over 13,000 miles of both urban and rural water lines throughout Rutherford County.

In early 2006, CUD received a notice of violation from the state of Tennessee for exceeding disinfection byproducts limits.  At that time, their flushing program consisted of two employees that would address problem areas as needed.  the process was time consuming and ineffective.  When CUD began receiving customer inquiries because of the required public notice regarding the violation, Assistant General Manager Bill Dunnill contacted The Kupferle Foundry Company located in St. Louis, MO, to search for a solution.  After consulting with CUD and assessing the problem, Kupferle suggested using the Eclipse Model #9700 portable automatic flushing device.  CUD ordered three units and began using them in the field.

Focusing on the most troublesome areas firs, CUD began to test the effectiveness of the 9700s, which attach directly to any fire hydrant.  Dunnill states that “CUD saw immediate…”

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No Valve Left Behind

A Utility District in Tennessee launched a maintenance program to leave “No Valve Behind”. A maintenance program to locate, identify, clean and exercise and repair these valves became the main focus….More

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WaterOnline Radio Interview at WEFTEC with Kupferle’s Matt Bachhuber

WaterOnline Radio Interview at WEFTEC with Kupferle’s Matt Bachhuber

Kupferle’s own Matt Bachhuber was interviewed on radio by WaterOnline during the WEFTEC conference. Here Matt discusses the importance of flushing, Kupferle’s new and upcoming line of products sampling and washdown hydrants. Check out the WaterOnline’s WEFTEC Interview!