Maintenance crews are digging out thousands of fire hydrants after the weekend snowstorm.


Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility (AWWU) is responsible for clearing about 7,400 hydrants around the Anchorage Bowl.


Journeyman Marshall Kennon said he can shovel out up to 50 hydrants a day. That involves clearing a 6-foot diameter around the hydrant, then checking to make sure a leak hasn’t left frozen water inside.


“It’s important because it allows the fire department to have a quicker response time on the hydrant,” Kennon explained. “They need quicker suppression, so it’s extremely important they’re able to get right on the hydrant and it works.”


Getting to the hydrants isn’t always easy. Kennon said snow from street and sidewalk plows often piles up over hydrants.


“Clearing around berms and clearing out of driveways where people have shoveled their snow into the hydrant, that’s probably the biggest challenge,” he said.


Kennon said it could take crews more than one month to hit all of hydrants. He asks people to shovel around hydrants in their neighborhood if they’re able.


KTVA 11’s Heather Hintze can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.


Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the utility company as Alaska Water and Wastewater Utility. This has been corrected.