FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- A disrupted fire hydrant flow test resulted in some Fort Rucker Munson Heights residents reporting severely discolored water in their homes in early December.

While the appearance of the water was certainly troubling, people’s health was never at risk, according to Ryan Arne, Fort Rucker Directorate of Public Works director.

“There were absolutely no health hazards associated with the discolored water,” he said. “I understand seeing your water discolored in that way is concerning, but it was a direct result of the testing getting interrupted before all of the settled iron deposits and natural occurring minerals in the pipes were able to be flushed, not because anything unsafe was introduced into the system.”

American Water, who manages the post’s water system, was in the process of testing 139 of the post’s fire hydrants when technical difficulties and a storm moving into the area Dec. 8 resulted in testing coming to a halt in the Munson Heights area, according to company officials.

This didn’t allow the hydrants to be flushed properly prior to residents experiencing discoloration in their water, officials said, adding that once work was able to resume they assigned an employee to work through the night flushing the lines in and around the neighborhood.

Since the incident, DPW and American Water have identified steps to take to help prevent something similar happening in the future, according to Arne.

“American Water will not conduct fire hydrant flow testing until we have completed notification in the housing areas,” he said. “Additionally, they will start and finish the flow testing in one continuous task and not get caught up in a weather delay that prevents a full flush of the lines.”

Other steps include:

* Notify DPW and Corvias of the Hydrant Flow testing dates and areas impacted one week prior to testing;

* Do not perform hydrant testing on potentially bad weather days and complete the job, or at least Flushing, the day of the hydrant testing;

* Ensure directional flushing is performed in the event discolored water remains after testing to ensure all discolored water is removed from the system as soon as practical;

* Ensure that flushing continues until there is not any noticeable discoloration of water at the hydrant; and

* If discolored water remains, American Water is dedicated to applying resources needed to continue the flushing until the turbidity is within recommended specifications.

Arne said people live on post who have concerns about the aesthetic properties of their water should call the Fort Rucker Environmental Health Section at 255-7380 or 255-7327.

“They have trained professionals who can speak with you in more detail and can provide guidance on water issues,” he said. “They also have technicians who can come on-site to evaluate your situation and collect samples, if necessary. If a problem is identified which requires certain maintenance or corrective action by the government, the inspectors will issue a written memorandum to ensure timely follow-up action on this type of issue.”

He also recommended that residents who are experiencing discolored water run water inside the unit until the water is clear, and also contact their neighborhood centers to report the issue.