Fire Hydrant Testing Apr 30-June 23 May Cause Water Discoloration


Fire Hydrant Testing

The Cambridge Water and Fire Departments will be conducting annual fire hydrant maintenance and flow testing Monday through Saturday between 9 a.m.-2 p.m.(and between 6 p.m. and dusk when needed), beginning April 30th through June 23rd, excluding holidays. Hydrant testing is performed to ensure operability and to identify and repair those hydrants requiring maintenance.  In addition to hydrant testing, crews will be performing water main flushing.  Approximately 25 hydrants will be tested in each area, each day.  

Hydrant testing may disturb the sediment that naturally occurs in the water piping system.  Water from your faucet and toilet may appear rust colored from the disturbance.  Rust discoloration may last for several hours after the tests have been completed.  Discolored water does not usually present a health hazard, however, the Water Department recommends that anyone who has doubts about the rust colored water should not drink it.  You may wish to store tap water or two-gallon containers in your refrigerator for the day of the test.

We also suggest that the residents check their water before doing laundry because the discolored water may stain your clothes. If your laundry is stained, the Water Department will provide you with a wash additive to remove the stains.  

If you would like to know when the hydrants are being tested in your neighborhood, please review the schedule shown below.  You can also follow us on Twitter (@CambWaterDept), like us on Facebook, or call the Cambridge Fire Department at 617-349-4921 between 8:00 AM to 8:45 AM for daily test locations.  If you have any questions on water quality, please call Ed Dowling, Laboratory Manager, Cambridge Water Department at 617-349-4780. Below are general reference dates for Cambridge neighborhoods: 

 Central Square  Area   Engine 2  April 30 through May 12
 West Cambridge Area  Engine 9  April 30 through May 12
 Riverside Area  Engine 6  May 14 through May 26
 Observatory Hill Area  Engine 8  May 14 through May 26
 East Cambridge Area  Engine 3  May 29 through June 9
 North Cambridge Area  Engine 4  May 29 through June 9
 Harvard Square Area  Engine 1  June 11 through June 23 
 Inman Square Area  Engine 5   June 11 through June 23

Please note that these dates for testing remain flexible due to weather and Fire Department activities.

For a map of the fire hydrant testing areas, please click on the link below:

fire hydrant map