Hydrant flushing helps purge the waterlines of the build-up of sediment over time. It also alerts the operators of any weakness in the system, such as a weak valve or a hydrant that needs replacing. In addition to enhancing water quality, hydrant flushing ensures public safety by maintaining firefighting capability.
If you see a crew flushing a hydrant on your street, avoid running your tap water, using the washing machine or the dishwasher until the flushing is complete. If you see hydrant flushing crews working in the area, please drive carefully and treat them like any other construction crew.
If tap water is used during flushing, it could come out full of sediment that causes discoloration. If you encounter discolored water, shut the water off and wait several minutes. After waiting, check clarity by running cold water for a few minutes, allowing new water to work its way into your pipes. If the water is clear, it is OK to use. If not, wait a few more minutes and check again. In some cases, there may be slight discoloration for a few hours. This discoloration only affects the appearance of the water, it does not affect the taste or water quality.
Avoid washing laundry during scheduled flushing times. Wait until the water runs clear at the tap, then wash a load of dark clothes first. If you happen to be in the middle of washing laundry while hydrants are being flushed, DO NOT DRY your clothes. An iron and sediment removal product can be purchased from your local grocery store and are usually effective removing the discoloration in clothes that have not been dried.
If pressure or volume seems low, check your faucet screens for trapped particles.
When a hydrant is opened, there will be temporary incidences of discolored water while fine sediment particles are flushed out. There is no health hazard associated with the discolored water. Allow a few hours for discoloration to dissipate. To verify water is clear, run your cold-water tap for a few minutes.