For the third straight year the city of Clarinda is investing in upgrading its aging fire hydrant system.

Clarinda has 230 fire hydrants located throughout the city providing protection to homes and businesses. The oldest of those are the 88 Ludlow hydrants still existing in the city.

“What we have found in the past is the Ludlow hydrants seem to be of lesser quality, mostly because of their age. So we have focused on replacing those first,” Clarinda City Manager Gary McClarnon said.

McClarnon said the City Council started taking a more aggressive approach to replacing the hydrants during the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Prior to that, McClarnon said upgrading the hydrants was a hit or miss process.

During both the 2017-2018 fiscal year and the 2018-2019 fiscal year the city budgeted $20,000 for fire hydrant replacement. That amount was increased to $40,000 in the proposed 2019-2020 fiscal year budget being considered by the city council.

“Obviously, this is a matter of public safety. When the Clarinda Volunteer Fire Department responds to a fire, we don’t want them wasting a lot of time finding a hydrant that works. So we bumped up the amount to cover the costs and accelerate the process,” McClarnon said.

Clarinda was able to replace five hydrants at an average cost of $5,500 apiece during the 2017-2018 fiscal year. However, this fiscal year, the city has replaced only two hydrants at a total cost of $30,788.

“It all depends on the complexity of the fire hydrant,” McClarnon said.

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