BEAUMONT - By Megan Dillard - Many of you have told us it's something that makes you mad. Fire hydrants spilling thousands of gallons of water onto the streets, sometimes for days. So why would anyone waste so much water? KFDM investigated the case of the wasted water. We want to hold goverment acountable for your tax dollars. And we asked you to tell us if you see government waste. A Beaumont woman sent us this email: "I have driven by the same hydrants on Calder for over a week.. and the water is still running out onto the ground. When I have to pay for water use, why is it that they could possibly need to just let the water flow from these hydrants? What a waste." And this one: "Fire hydrants flowing full force very often for days. Hate to think what the water rates are here. Is this the only area and is there a reason this happens?" So we took your questions to the Beaumont Water Department. You may have driven down a street in Beaumont and seen this. The sight may beg the question why is the city wasting water? "It is never a wasteful thing when it comes to protecting the public's health and safety." Dr. Hani Tohme runs the water utilites department in Beaumont. He explains this is part of routine maintenance. "We utilize flushing to get rid of the old water before it gets stagnant and replace it with fresh water." Standing water in low-usage lines, sediment created in old cast iron lines, repairs; reasons the city says it must flush water. "If the flushing didn't occur, there would be areas where the water would not have enough chlorine residual in it to kill any bacteria that can be in the system and that can jeapordize the public's health and safety." Tohme says Beaumont is one of many places that uses this method. "Port Arthur, Nederland, I'm sure everybody doesn't want their customers to receive water that has an odor, a taste, or is discolored." He also explains strict calculations control both the amount of water and length of time it's flowing. "It all depends on the size of pipe we are trying to flush and the usage in the area." Some lines flush an automated system; others require a worker to open them. Either way Tohme says the goal is the same. "Providing safe drinking water and protecting the public's health." Dr. Tohme says the city appreciates people who call to report water concerns. He explained there are times when his department hasn't opened the lines and those instances could be valid leaks. He encourages people to call 311 or the dispatch line 409-860-3221. If you'd like to submit a Waste Watch story idea, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.Waste Watch: Is Beaumont wasting water?
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