About once a month, an errant driver wipes out a yellow fireplug. Water shoots into the air, and Public Works comes to the rescue
Have you ever noticed the men in blue with yellow vests, opening fire hydrants, so that perfectly good water flows into the Santa Monica streets?
Well, we were curious, and there is in fact, a good reason. So we asked one of the workmen. “We test the valves every three months by opening them, and allowing water in the system to flow out,” John Ramirez of Santa Monica Public Works explains. "The valves are 100 years old in Santa Monica, and it’s essential that we know before the fire department needs them that they remain in working order.“
The valves are not actually located on the familiar yellow fire plugs so treasured by dogs. They are below the streets, in an area only accessed by removing a cover placed in the streets.
“Flushing the water also improves the water quality for our water department, customers, who draw water from the same system. It ensures that the water is not stagnant.”
Ramirez worked for five years for the city of Southgate Department of Public Works, before beginning to work for the City Of Santa Monica. He recommends water district maintenance as a vocation for any young person, noting that there is a high demand for people in his field.
He says that about once a month, an errant driver wipes out a yellow fireplug. Water shoots into the air, and his department is called to secure the valve. “the rate is higher during the summer,” Ramirez says.