Company urges hydrant lubricant, upper stem replacement

Clow Valve Company, a leading manufacturer of fire hydrants, issued a third Safety Notice regarding progress in replacing the lubricant and upper stem assemblies in approximately 113,000 fire hydrants nationwide. Although Clow has millions of fire hydrants in use in the United States, only a small portion of the company's Medallion and F2500 brand hydrants are involved in the replacement. These include hydrants manufactured from 2002 through 2004, and possibly other hydrants...

• Leading manufacturer of fire hydrants will provide contractors free of charge

OSKALOOSA, IA, Sept. 15, 2008 -- Clow Valve Company, one of the nation's leading manufacturers of fire hydrants, today issued a third Safety Notice regarding progress in replacing the lubricant and upper stem assemblies in approximately 113,000 fire hydrants nationwide.

Although Clow has millions of fire hydrants in use in the United States, only a small portion of the company's Medallion and F2500 brand hydrants are involved in the replacement. These include hydrants manufactured from 2002 through 2004, and possibly other hydrants to which grease containing calcium acetate was applied from repair tubes.

In August 2006 and again in October 2007, Clow Valve Company issued a Safety Notice alerting its clients that it will replace the lubricant and upper stem assemblies in the affected fire hydrants. Since the Safety Notices were mailed, more than 55,000 stems have been replaced; however, Clow said it still has not heard from some clients in response to the Safety Notices issued in 2006 and 2007. Other clients have responded to the notice, but have not yet completed replacement of the affected lubricant and upper stem.

Clow re-emphasizes that it will provide, at no cost, a contractor to do the inspection and replacement, or a labor allowance along with free parts for each stem returned.

"We announced in August 2006 that a lubricant used in our hydrants manufactured between 2002 and 2004 can corrode internal hydrant parts," said Mike Vore, Clow's national sales manager. "Clow remains committed to locating every hydrant and replacing the upper stem and lubricant in every hydrant at Clow's expense."

The lubricant, which contains a calcium acetate additive that causes corrosion, is no longer used by Clow, and the company urges clients to discontinue using any grease that contains a calcium acetate additive. The company added that the grease involved cannot affect water quality because the grease in the company's fire hydrants is an approved food-grade lubricant and the hydrants' grease reservoirs are isolated from the water system.

During its replacement of the upper stem and lubrication in hydrants to date, Clow has found hydrant stems exhibiting corrosion caused by the calcium acetate in the grease. It appears the corrosion is increasing as time passes. As a result, there is a very real danger that some hydrants will be rendered inoperable if remedial action is not taken. Clow is dedicated to finding and replacing all upper stems and lubricant in the affected hydrants.

Clow made the announcement in a letter to water and fire departments in communities across the United States.

>> Click here for further information or call Clow at 800-829-2569.

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