One function of the Cedar Rapids Water Division is to maintain public fire hydrants throughout the Cedar Rapids community. As hydrants age, they may need to be rebuilt or replaced based on their condition. For more information regarding private fire hydrant maintenance, visit the Private Fire Hydrant Maintenance Program webpage.
The average cost to replace a hydrant is $5,500, while the average cost to rebuild a hydrant is just $500. For this reason, the Cedar Rapids Water Division strives to rebuild as many hydrants as possible.
In 2012, Cedar Rapids was recognized for providing an innovative solution to a common industry problem of seized hydrant valve seats for the breakaway style hydrants. In many cases, the hydrant valve seat would be corroded and seized up. If operators were unable to remove the hydrant valve seat, they would be forced to excavate and replace the entire hydrant at a cost of $3,500 per hydrant. If crews were able to remove the hydrant valve seat, the hydrant could be rebuilt in less than a day and only cost $450.
The crews knew they needed more torque to overcome this problem. Dennis Meyers, Water Distribution System Supervisor, started to think outside the box and investigated the possibility of modifying an auger motor to fit their application. The motor was attached to the Division’s compact track loader and fitted with a key that would lock into the hydrant valve seat. The resulting 3,700 ft-lb of torque proved to be enough to remove the seized valve seats. Since the implementation of the device, Water Distribution has successfully removed 95% of the seized hydrant valve seats, saving about $3,050 per hydrant and $45,000.00 annually in 2012.
This video shows you the process of rebuilding a hydrant.