Residents who notice Water and Sewer Department crews working at fire hydrants and see water running into the street may think that the Department is ignoring its own philosophy of conserving our water resources. The process of periodically "flushing" water lines with fire hydrants, however, is an important preventive maintenance activity. Although it may appear to waste water, this process is part of a routine maintenance program necessary to maintain the integrity of the water system and allowing us to continue to deliver the highest quality water possible to our customers.
The flushing route is carefully planned, and valves are opened and closed to control the direction of the water flow. Flushing the water system on a routine basis removes sediment from lines and keeps the entire distribution system "refreshed". 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 own home by running all water faucets for a minute or two.
This 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.
Also, if you go out of town and there is no water use in your home for a week or more, when you return, it's always a good idea to run all your faucets for a minute or so before using the water. This ensures that you don't use any stagnant water that may have developed in your home's pipes while you were away. Water your house plants with this potentially stagnant water so it's not wasted.