Hydrant Flushing and Waterline Maintenance
You may notice Water Department crews working at fire hydrants and see water running down
the street. Your first thought may be that we are ignoring our own philosophy of conserving
water. Normally in the spring, we flush water lines through the use of fire hydrants, which is an
important preventive maintenance activity. Although it may appear to waste water, the process
is part of a routine maintenance program necessary to maintain the integrity of the water system allowing us to continue to deliver the highest quality water possible to our customers.
As a result of the line flushing process, residents in the immediate vicinity of the work may
experience temporary discoloration of their water. This discoloration consists primarily of
harmless silt and air and does not affect the safety of the water. If you experience discoloration
in your water after crews have been flushing in your neighborhood, clear the pipes in your home by running all water faucets for a few minutes. The same philosophy of water line preventive maintenance is one that you should use in your own home to ensure the quality of water inside your home. Your home’s water heater should be drained and flushed on a regular basis, according to manufacturers’ recommendations, to keep it working effectively and efficiently.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Why does the water system need to be routinely flushed?
A: The city’s water distribution system is a complex network of pipes and storage reservoirs
where sediment or deposits may naturally accumulate over time. If not removed, these materials may cause water quality deterioration, taste and odor problems, or discoloration of the water. Water may also stagnate in lesser used parts of the distribution system. This can result in degraded water quality.
- What should I do when I see city crews flushing hydrants in my area?
- If you see a city crew flushing hydrants, PLEASE DRIVE CAREFULLY.
- What should I do after the flushing?
- If the tap water is used during flushing, it could come out full of sediment and discoloration.
If you encounter discolored water, shut the water off and wait several minutes. After waiting,
check the clarity by running cold water for a few minutes allowing new water to work its way
into your pipes. If not, wait a few more minutes and check again. In some cases, you may
experience slight discoloration for a few hours. This discoloration only affects the appearance of the water; it does not affect the taste or water quality.
- What should I do if my water pressure or volume seems low after flushing?
- Check your faucet and washer screens for trapped debris.
- Why does the water look funny after hydrant flushing?
- When a hydrant is opened, there will always be temporary incidences of discolored water
containing fine sediment particles. There is no health hazard associated with discolored water.
Allow a few hours for discoloration to dissipate. To verify the water has settled, allow your cold
water tap to run a few minutes. If the discoloration persists for more than twenty-four (24)
hours, please contact The City of Rockford at (616) 866-1537