Valve company urges hydrant lubricant, upper stem replacement

Clow Valve Company, one of the nation's leading manufacturers of fire hydrants, has issued a Followup Safety Notice regarding progress in replacing the lubricant and upper stem assemblies in approximately 113,000 fire hydrants nationwide by the end of 2008. Although Clow has millions of fire hydrants in use in the United States, only the company's Medallion and F2500 brand hydrants manufactured in 2002, 2003 and 2004 are involved in the replacement...

• Leading manufacturer of fire hydrants will provide contractors free of charge; Clients urged to contact Clow with any questions

OSKALOOSA, IA, Oct. 29, 2007 -- Clow Valve Company, one of the nation's leading manufacturers of fire hydrants, has issued a Followup Safety Notice regarding progress in replacing the lubricant and upper stem assemblies in approximately 113,000 fire hydrants nationwide by the end of 2008.

Although Clow has millions of fire hydrants in use in the United States, only the company's Medallion and F2500 brand hydrants manufactured in 2002, 2003 and 2004 are involved in the replacement.

In August 2006, 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 Notice was mailed, Clow has located more than 45,000 hydrants in more than 600 communities, and replacement of the upper stems by contractors is already underway. More than 30,000 upper stems have already been returned to Clow and catalogued.

However, Clow said it still has not heard from some clients in response to the Safety Notice issued in 2006. 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, and a replacement kit containing all needed materials and information.

"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 is 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 replacing all upper stems and lubricant in the affected hydrants by the end of 2008.

Clow made the announcement August 1, 2006 in a letter to water and fire departments in communities across the United States. Communities are asked to visit www.clowvalve.com or call Clow's sales department at 800-829-2569 for more information.

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