Don’t drain the dry standpipe, recapture its water

The recent rains in California may have eased drought concerns — heck, in many counties folks are suggesting that the historic five-year drought is over — but it remains wise to remain conservation-minded when it makes good sense to do so.

To that end, we now use — and certainly suggest others — a means of re-capturing the water trapped in the standpipe at the end of the flow test.  Before everyone goes home, we need to put the “dry” back into a “dry standpipe,” so leaving the water in the pipes isn’t an option.

FDC drain down deviceOur drain-down contraption helps solve the first half of this challenge: it allows the teams to release the water in a controlled fashioned, and channel it into a hose and, ultimately, into the desired location.  (It also means when one needs to release the tension on the clapper within the snoot, whether spring-loaded or hinged, we don’t have the junior person on-site trying to “pop” the clapper with a pipe, and getting soaked with the water once it gets flowing.)

From here, we need to get the water back into the fire engine’s tank… and we’re able to leverage the head pressure of the standpipe to force the water back into the tank.  (Of course, it’ll make things WAY easier if the roof valve is also left open.)

From the FDC, with this contraption attached, we then run a 1.5-inch hose back to the fire engine. There, it’s set up to be adapted back up to 2.5-inch, into a gated valve, and that’s threaded onto the engine’s auxiliary intake.

The evolution involves setting this up — but not yet attaching to the engine — and crack the gated valve open. Tighten the rod against to the clapper until we achieve water flow, and monitor the flow until it’s flowing clear.  (It’s inevitable some sediment is in the pipes and often will flow out early on; keep the valve open until this clears as to not introduce it into the booster tank.)

Once you’re comfortable with the clear flow, close the valve, attach it to the intake, and open the valve, intake and (if needed) Tank Fill.  From there, you’ll be able to capture a decent amount of water used in the test, minus the amount discharged at the roof during the test itself.  (Our record is recovering 600 gallons of water, though that was from a 24-story structure… so there was plenty of water to be had in this case.)


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