What is “flushing” the water system?
It is when we literally flush the water mains (pipelines) to remove any settled particles (minerals like iron) from the system. This is accomplished by opening fire hydrants in a specific area, sending massive currents of water speeding through the pipes, scouring any minerals and other sediment from the pipes and out the hydrant.
Why is flushing necessary?
Imagine driving down the road at about 1 or 2 miles an hour — the rate water normally moves through pipes in the winter when water demand is typically low. This slow movement allows sediment to build up over time, accumulating along the inside bottom of pipes. Our crews “pick up the speed of traffic” with flushing these water thoroughfares in order to help cleanse the pipes of sediment.
Isn’t flushing a waste of water?
The water used with flushing is important for maintaining water quality and the integrity of the piping system. Flushing eliminates sediments that might otherwise build up, restrict water flow and cause corrosion. The unused water is actually a small price to pay compared to the costs and waste involved with poor water flow and pipe replacement.
Do other public water providers flush their pipelines?
Like us, most public water providers utilize some type of flushing program — it’s simply one of the best ways to maintain water quality and delivery reliability.
Can local construction cause the system to flush?
Yes, if a construction worker opens a fire hydrant too fast, it can cause the same sort of flushing effect in the surrounding area. If this happens and you experience any water discoloration, please try running your cold water for 5 minutes and if the problem persists for over 24-hours, please contact us.
When does water system flushing occur?
Flushing is normally a springtime task, performed just as residents move outdoors, drawing more water to meet irrigation and recreational needs. Without flushing, these residents might find their in-home tap water discolored or water flow restricted. If, however, you are experience water discoloration, please let us know, as we will send out an operator to help solve the problem.
What if my water continues to be discolored after the flushing?
If your water does continues to run discolored, it points to the possibility of an unusually high volume of water demand and/or sediment in your area. Your call to us will help direct our efforts and allow us to correct any problems promptly. If your cold water runs clear, but the hot water remains discolored, you may have an entirely separate issue with your hot water heater.
What if my cold water runs clear, but my hot water is discolored?
If this occurs, we suggest draining and refilling the hot water tank. Make sure to do this cautiously, and follow all your manufacturer’s warnings to avoid getting burned, damaging your equipment or voiding your warranty.
Does the District monitor the water’s quality during the flushing process?
Yes, our operators conduct ongoing water sample collections to verify water quality during the flushing process.
What should I do when I see the District’s crew flushing hydrants in my area?
Please drive carefully and understand that our operators are maintaining your water system to help guarantee the delivery of quality water and to increase the life of our pipeline system. And, if you get the chance, thanking them is always nice, too.