Water Main Flushing
What Happens During The Flushing Process?
When we are flushing, we purposely open hydrants in strategically predetermined locations in order to simulate the hi-velocity water flows a fire situation would generate. The benefit of generating these high velocity flows, and in some cases flows in the opposite direction as domestic usage, is that they scour the main and remove unwanted sediment and minerals that have collected over the winter. We run the water out of the hydrants until all noticeable discoloration is gone; then we run the water for a bit longer to make sure the water is clear. After the flushing of that portion of main is complete, we shut down the system and return it to its domestic role. Then we move on to the next portion of the main, moving progressively away from our tank sites so as to keep moving any potentially discolored water away from the new water being put into our distribution system.
Why Does The District Need To Flush The Distribution System?
Our water mains are flushed to remove sediment and minerals that have collected in the distribution system during the slowest time of usage. Most water distribution systems are sized primarily to meet Fire Flow, which means the volume and velocity of the water moving thru the pipe during normal domestic usage is very low. This low velocity allows for sediment and minerals to precipitate and settle in the mains. This sediment can cause color issues and even taste and odor issues if not routinely removed through flushing.
What Will I See While The District Is Flushing?
You will likely notice our truck parked alongside of the roadway with a District employee connecting a hose to a hydrant. On the end of the hose is a device that diffuses the water flow to reduce any damage, and one employee will be following the water to make sure it is draining in a safe manner and is not generating any unforeseen issues.
What Can I Do To Help?
All you need to do is look for signs in your area indicating when flushing will occur and read the notices provided. The other important thing you can do to help is to slow down when you see the flushing crew, as there may be water on the roadways for short periods during these operations. Please watch for our employees, and drive slowly through any standing water you may encounter.
What Should I Do If I Have Water Discoloration During This Process?
If you do have some discoloration during this process, do not be concerned. The discoloration will usually clear up after a short period of flushing. It’s best to flush from your kitchen sink or bathtub. Please run the tap for 5-10 minutes. Please make sure the water is clear before resuming normal water use. If flushing doesn’t clear up the water, please notify the District Office at (253) 588-4423.
How Will I Know When Flushing Will Occur In My Area?
The flushing process will occur throughout the District from April through June. Please click the link below for a schedule and map of the area currently being flushed. Our crews will place signs in strategic locations prior to flushing. Generally, flushing will take place between the hours of 8:30am and 4:30pm, Monday through Friday.