Going from orange tops to green tops makes a big difference in fire protection

For residents of Buchanan Estates, upgrades to water infrastructure have led to significant improvements in fire protection.

The two-phase effort started in 2017 near Manchester Highway with the installation of a 16-inch main water line on Dilton Mankin Road to replace an existing eight-inch line. In 2019, the next phase of work extended along Epps Mill Road and crossed Interstate 24 to replace a six-inch line. Consolidated Utility District (CUD) recently measured the enhanced output of 20 fire hydrants, mainly in the back of the Buchanan Estates subdivision.

“In Buchanan Estates, flow from the fire hydrants previously averaged 629 gallons per minute,” said CUD Water Quality Foreman Mark Lee. “Now the flow reaches 1,264 gallons per minute on average. That’s a difference of 101 percent. So now the fire hydrants are green tops.”

“Green top” is a reference to the color of the top of a fire hydrant. The improvement in service changed the hydrants from orange tops – capable of 501 to 1,000 gallons of water per minute – to green tops, which provide 1,001 to 1,500 gallons per minute.

The community had been serviced by a 12-inch water line, yet the addition of a 16-inch line provided a greater volume of water to the existing hydrant, leading to their change to green tops.

“The increase in water pressure and volume has an enormous impact on fire ground operations,” said Rutherford County Fire and Rescue Chief Larry Farley. “This allows us to establish a quick water supply to attack a fire much faster. A fire doubles in size every 60 seconds. This provides better resources for the fire department to save lives and property.”

On Capital Way, the flow of water was previously averaging 844 gallons per minute. With the change to green tops, the flow now averages 1,217 gallons per minute – an increase of 44 percent.

“This is a reflection of our capital improvement plan,” said CUD General Manager Bill Dunnill. “We have a definite vision for supporting the county’s quality of life and continued growth. We service everything from individual homes to large businesses, and water availability is a key factor.”

(photo courtesy of pixabay.com)