What is Hydrant Flushing?
Hydrant flushing is utilized to maintain water quality. Water distribution lines are flushed by releasing water at a high velocity from fire hydrants. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours depending on the circumstances.
When Does it Occur?
The Charlotte County Utilities Department will flush hydrants only when required. This normally occurs to maintain disinfection residual, to correct taste or odor issues, for service or repair of water mains, or as part of fire hydrant testing and maintenance. Hydrant flushing may occur even during instances of severe water conservation if testing indicates it is necessary for healthy water.
Why is it Done?
The primary purpose of flushing is to ensure water quality. It also helps find weaknesses in the water system and checks for closed valves and weak flow. Additionally, flushing can ensure that fire hydrants are operating properly and that they have an adequate flow for firefighting.
Is it Wasteful?
The amount and cost of the water utilized in hydrant flushing is small compared to the benefits it brings. Water that is released returns to the water cycle and will replenish aquifers, drain into waterways or evaporate. Water cannot easily be collected for reuse due to the high velocity and amount of water that must be moved at once to maintain water quality.
What Should I Do?
If you notice hydrant flushing being conducted in your area you should avoid running tap water, including for use in washing machines. Water used during flushing may be discolored due to sediment. If you encounter discolored water, shut the water off and wait several minutes. After waiting check the clarity again by running cold water for a few minutes, allowing new water to work its way into your pipes. There is no health hazard associated with discolored water, however it may cause discoloration to clothes. In some cases, there may be slight discoloration for a few hours.