Local News

Residents Question Flowing Fire Hydrants in Time of Drought

Posted October 17, 2007 10:15 p.m. EDT
Updated October 17, 2007 11:20 p.m. EDT

— Gov. Mike Easley said he wants every citizen to try to save at least one gallon of water a day, but some local residents said they have seen gallons of water pouring out of fire hydrants in the area.

Brent Nelson passes by a fire hydrant just outside of Wendell every day on his way to work. He sees the water flow freely out of it.

“Hey, if everyone else is conserving, why can't we do something different with this stuff?” he asked.

That was back in July. Nelson called Johnston County to complain and was told they were flushing the system.

Howard Mills, with the Johnston County Water Authority, estimated that about five gallons of water ran out of the hydrant per minute. Mills said the county had to open some of the hydrants to help meet state water quality guidelines.

He said that in normal times, it's a common practice used to keep water lines clean. Residents say things aren't normal because of the drought, however.

“There could be better uses for it than just running it into the ground here,” Nelson said.

After WRAL put in calls to Johnston County, officials said the plan was to have all hydrants off by Wednesday. At last check, the hydrant that was flowing earlier in the day had been closed.